Trapped in the bottle


Once again playing in the movies is “Aladdin” the film produced by the Walt Disney studios who once more went to one of the most famous stories from the eastern tale “Arabian Nights” in search for the plot to be reedited.


The story tells about a poor young man that finds an oil lamp having inside a Genie who must serve the lamp’s possessor attending to his desires. This time the Genie in the big screen is brilliantly interpreted by the North American actor Will Smith.


The film made me remember the Mozambican popular belief that suggests that when the husband helps his wife with the domestic tasks means that she has trapped him inside the bottle. Therefore, to help the spouse with the house chores would be like being trapped inside the lamp having to serve its owner.


I recall a Mozambican who once told me that he always helped his wife, but kept the window closed so that his friends wouldn’t see him. Sadly, the fear of what will others think affects not only the Africans but everybody everywhere. We behave to satisfy our society’s status regardless of what our desire really is.


Nevertheless, the biblical teaching reveals that the only one who we should try to please with our life is God himself and that the service to others is not a demerit that imprisons but a privilege that liberates. Although this understanding in contrary to peers’ expectations it is the perspective of the eternal God.


The service to God and to the people isn’t a recommendation from a tale, but it is the biblical instruction that can be experimented by all those who truly search a free life without the need to hide themselves, even more when the issue is to support the spouse.


  • Which tasks make you feel trapped in the bottle?

  • How do you feel when others help you?


(The privilege of serving, Mark 10:43-44 – The example of service, Philippians 2:5-7)


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Since 1983 I’ve been a Salvation Army officer where by God’s grace I’ve had the opportunity to serve in pastoral, administrative and leadership positions in South America, Europe and Africa.

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