We find ourselves in the middle of Holy Week. If you read the accounts of Jesus final week, you will see all kinds of ups and downs, all kinds of twists and turns, and there is no shortage of surprises. Yet, in this week that we would label as chaotic, Jesus never wavers from his call and destination.
After the Transfiguration, Jesus comes down the mountain and we are told in Scripture, “He set his face towards Jerusalem.” In the Greek, this phrase can be translated, that he had a “strong determination,” as he journey to Jerusalem for the last time.
Jesus knew who he was, called to be our servant; to live for our sake. That call servanthood eventually, and inevitably, led him to the cross.
Paul speaks of the beauty of this journey: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).
In the next three verses (Philippians 2:9-11), Paul tells us how his servant life was lifted up as the true way to live:: “Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Jesus lived the life of a servant. He has also calls us to live the same way; not as some type of punishment, but to invite us into the greatest life possible: the life of servanthood.
Let me share a story told by Thomas Hilton: Horville Sash had a very humble job in a certain company, a job in the lowest basement of a building. He was a mail room clerk. As mail room clerk, there was no one who was lower than he was. One day he came across a bug scurrying across the floor. Horville may have the lowliest job in the whole company, but he was bigger than the bug! So he raised his foot to flatten the hapless bug.
But this story is a fable, and the bug speaks. “Spare me,” said the bug, “and I will grant you your fondest wishes.” Horville spared the bug. His reward: a wish. “I wish to be promoted to the second floor.” And his wish was granted. Zap! He found himself working on the second floor.
But wait. Horville heard footsteps on the ceiling of floor number two. A higher level meant higher wages. The next day, Horville rose to the third floor job of sales coordinator. But that didn’t end his ambition. He wished for still more promotions. He went to the tenth floor, then to the twentieth -- the fiftieth -- the seventieth. Still he was not satisfied. Horville was sitting by the indoor pool on floor ninety-six, when he discovered a stairway leading up ... to another floor? He scramble dup the stairs, and found himself on the roof. At least, he was the highest, the greatest. Finally content, he headed for the down stairway, when he came across a boy on the edge of the building with his eyes closed. “What are you doing?”
The boy pointed a finger skyward, and replied, “To God.”
Panic gripped Horville. Was there a floor above him? He couldn't see it, and he couldn't hear any footsteps shuffling around up there. Just clouds. “Do you mean that there's somebody above me? Someone greater than I?”
The bug was instantly summoned. “Make me God. Make me the greatest. Put me in the type of position that only God would hold if he were on earth.”
The very day Horville began work in the mail room.
The greatest sickness in the world today isn’t Covid-19, it’s people living in the wrong way and for the wrong things. Leaving self-centeredness for servanthood is indeed counter-cultural, and laughable to most people – but Jesus tells us and shows us that servanthood is the ONLY way to a true and full life – a life of blessing and a life of blessing-sharing.
Try Jesus’ way and see what happens to you.
~ God bless, Dan