“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (ESV). It’s about servanthood. It’s about giving up my life for the sake of others.
Simple enough, right? The way up is the way down. The way to the penthouse is through the basement. It preaches very easily. But is it really easy?
The reality is that it comes down to motivation. If I am trying to get to the “top,” then I am on the wrong path. But even if I am trying to be a servant of others with the desire that it will eventually get me to the “top,” then I’m still on the wrong path; it’s still about me getting to the top.
So the real challenge is that I’m suppose to do what is best for other people. I read elsewhere that if you want to test your leadership motivation, you can ask yourself a simple question. Whose best interest am I seeking to serve?
That comes out in Matthews’ record of Jesus’ words: “…whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant.” (20:26) According to Skip Moen, that word “servant” originally mean to wait on tables.
I like that illustration. The best waiters are the ones who are practically invisible, but always show up at just the right moment to do just what you need to enjoy your meal the most. They don’t hover over you trying to earn a tip; they don’t try to persuade you to get what they like best on the menu. They do everything they can to make your visit to their area of the restaurant one that will result in you returning again.
That’s my job. It is my task to serve the needs of those God puts in my path. I am to anticipate needs (which requires focused attention). I am to go out of my way to be useful to them. It’s simple. But it’s not easy. I’d rather be the one at the table than the one waiting on the table. Today I’m going to work on looking for some tables to wait on. I’m going to look for someone else whose best interest I can seek after. After all; if Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28); why would I expect to do any differently.
It turns out that the bottom isn’t the WAY to the top. The bottom IS the top. The whole view is radically reversed when I take a kingdom perspective.