“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3 (NIV)
Why did I get stuck with the stupid-looking life preserver?
I’m out here in the sun, getting sweaty, giving up my time to invest in the lives of our youth from church, and they all get the cool zip-up life jackets while I get the one that looks like a throwaway prop from “Gilligan’s Island”. Not cool!
Oh yeah, and it chafes, too.
It’s times like these that I have to stop for a moment and do some soul-searching. I mean seriously, underneath all the fretting and justifications, what is really at the heart of my frustration?
“I deserve something better than this.” More specifically, “I deserve it more then they do…”
Obviously, even the most casual reading of Philippians 2:3 makes it painfully clear that if I am serious about following Christ, this type of thinking is not an option. The life and teaching of Jesus show again and again that if I am putting myself on the proverbial scales with another person, it doesn’t matter who “tips” them either way. There is no merit, background, action or attitude that gives me the right to step forward and demand preference, because the way of Jesus is found in stepping back and giving the best to others.
Think about this: Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Mat. 25:40)
If we really believe that our purpose is to bring glory to God in all we do, and that human beings are made in His image, then living a lifestyle of worship means we bring Him glory by serving His image in others. When we serve others, in reality we are serving Him. When we step in front of others and demand better treatment than them, in reality we are arguing that we deserve better than Jesus.
Frustratingly convicting? Join the club.
The truth is that it’s hard to regularly treat others as better than ourselves. It’s just not natural, and that’s the point. We often don’t feel like it, but when we are living a supernatural life, letting other people’s wants and needs take priority over our own, that is nothing less than an act of worship to the King, and not only does it please Him, but it also serves as a spiritual life preserver for us, rescuing us from drowning in the selfishness of our own soul.
This week, see how many ways you can find to give preference to others in the everyday stuff; parking places, spots in line, movie choices and restaurants. When you do, remember that as you are serving them in practical ways, you are actually worshipping the King.
(p.s. Stupid life preserver… Jesus wouldn’t even need one…)