Last time, we talked about how opposite Jesus’ values are from the values of our own day and age. He absolutely turns our hierarchy of priorities upside-down. If you missed us yesterday, click here to read Part One, then jump back in for the following three practical applications.
There is a lot of talk in the church these days about leadership. Conferences abound on how to teach the Bible, how to lead groups, and how to exert influence; and God’s Word affirms these noble tasks in 1 Timothy 3:1. We need teaching contexts to grow in our love for God and his Word, and being equipped to study and teach is vitally important for the body of Christ.
But as we register for another leadership training course, might we be wise to consider the positioning of our ladders? Are we remembering that up is down and down is up? What if, in our quest not to be left behind at the dirty sink or broom closet, we forget that those places are dripping with opportunities to delight our Lord?
If we truly believe Jesus’ words, can we reach for that next rung of greater servanthood and humility with as much zeal and sweaty enthusiasm as we reached for worldly acclaim in the old days? Does a request to empty trash cans at church excite us as much as an invitation to teach a seminar or lead a team? Maybe it should. If we are called to teach seminars, let’s do it with joy and faith, not shirking our call out of false humility, but let’s also remember that God is impressed not by a title, but by a servant’s heart. May our aspirations reflect that truth.
“The greatest among you shall be your servant” should change what and whom we admire. While humanity moons over physical beauty, confident style, thick wallets, and smooth speech, God shrugs. “Yeah, they’re okay.” Meanwhile, he is starstruck by the tired wife who cooks another family dinner, the saleswoman who delays her business lunch to care for an employee, and the pimply kid who empties the dishwasher to surprise his mom. Now that’s gorgeous.
Who are our heroes? Is there someone under our nose who exhibits true greatness in God’s eyes? Look hard; they may be prominent and praised or virtually invisible. Either way, that’s a person to emulate. Is it your pastor who cheerfully greets a critical church member? Is it the woman who has helped in the kindergarten class for years? Whoever it is, ask them about their joy in serving, draw them out about their willingness to jump in where needed, and join them in their efforts to serve like Christ. God will meet you there.
Usually, worldly success and the American dream come with stuff. “Moving on up” demands bigger homes, bigger offices, bigger wardrobes, and bigger degrees. Proverbs assures us that wise living often does bring wealth (Proverbs 10:4) and wise people do seek knowledge (Proverbs 18:15), but again, Jesus doesn’t seem unduly impressed by earthly honors. Remember, this is the man who didn’t have a place to lay his head. Jesus “moved up” not to the corner office, but to the cross. On purpose.
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). That’s our Savior. Our hero. And he sits, not just on the top rung of the rightly positioned ladder, but at the right hand of God himself.
Worldview, be adjusted. Our Servant King calls us to this new life, which shines not with the crass gleam of vainglory, but with the breathtaking splendor of the real thing.