“But let the greatest among you be your servant. And whoever makes himself high will be made low, and whoever makes himself low will be made high.” – Matthew 12:11-12
Jesus reminds us that earthly power and position don’t affect what awaits us in heaven. In fact, He indicates the first will be last, and that those who make themselves above others here on earth may be last at some point.
Jesus was a man of love and forgiveness, but sometimes His words could be harsh and demanding. This is one of those occasions. He tells the disciples they don’t need to compete for titles such as teacher or guide, that they should instead concentrate on serving each other. He wants them to lower themselves to the role of servant hood.
He makes it clear that a 295-horsepower car and a fancy brand name blue blazer aren’t what matters in heaven. Instead, we learn that serving others is most important. Our car won’t get us to heaven, but our willingness to serve others certainly will make our journey more pleasant.
My job sometimes gives me the opportunity to be in roles of leadership in our small community. Several years ago, I served as chairman of our education committee for the chamber of commerce. One of our projects was to encourage area residents who could read very little or none at all to attend adult reading classes and gain that very important skill.
I learned a lesson about servant hood and the ability to read while standing in the super market. I was still in my starched shirt and tie, headed home for the evening. My wife asked me to pick up some bread for breakfast. I pulled into the super market parking lot and quickly entered the store. I headed for the aisle with the bread.
Just a few steps from the loaves I sought, a man about my age stopped me. He looked as if he, too, was on the way home from his job. I don’t know exactly what his job was, but he didn’t work in an air conditioned office. His clothes bore evidence of physical labor.
He looked at me and, with an emotional plea, asked, “Can you help me? I need some medicine for my little girl who has a high fever. I can’t read, can you help me find something which will help her get better?”
I realized this man was desperate. Not only had he stopped a stranger who dressed differently, but he admitted he needed help. Would I, a college graduate and a professional, help him?
I cannot imagine the courage he had to muster nor the pride he had to swallow to approach me. Certainly the desperateness of his situation drove him to speak to me.
We moved quickly to the over-the-counter medicines. I scanned the labels for something suitable. I asked about his daughter’s symptoms and was able to locate some medicine which appeared to be what she needed.
He quickly took the medicine, thanked me and headed toward the checkout counter. I stood there and cried. I cried in anguish for the man who could not read, I cried for his little girl who was home sick and needed medicine. I cried because God had used this gentle reminder to help me better understand that earthly power and position mean nothing. Starched shirts and ties or not, we’re all the same before the Lord. What really matters is how we have served him by serving others.
Lord, thank you for the gentile reminder that earthly prestige and power don’t hold a candle to the reward which comes from serving You. Help us to put You and your kingdom first in our lives. Help us to serve you and humble ourselves before our fellow man, Your creation. Thank you Lord, for loving us, for being a servant and giving Your life for us. Help us learn how to give of ourselves as servants to others. Amen.
Dry Bones Ministry
Originally published circa 1988 on my original website, fishers.net