Whenever I see someone less fortunate than I
(and let’s face it – who isn’t less fortunate than I?)
It’s all about popular!
It’s not about aptitude. It’s the way you’re viewed.
So, it’s very shrewd to be very, very popular, like me!
You’ll be popular – just not quite as popular as me!
(Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz for the stage musical, Wicked)
This kind of competition breeds all sorts of unwelcome relational difficulties. And it doesn’t attract people to church, to Christianity or to the Savior.
For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. – 2 Corinthians 10:12
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. – James 3:13-17
God’s not impressed with our popularity or our public image. In His book, being cool is defined very differently from how the world around us displays it.
His way is the way of humility, the way of selfless, others-centered living. And the greatest leaders among us are those who seek the welfare of those they serve alongside, even above their own.
In-n-Out Burger was started in 1948 by Harry and Esther Synder. The Preacher worked at In-n-Out’s corporate warehouse in Southern California during his college years.
The company motto has always centered on Quality and Service. The menu is simple, and all efforts go into producing and providing really good food in a clean, friendly atmosphere. Fresh burgers. Hot (unprocessed) fries. Cold shakes. Yum!
Employees are told, On a hot day, when there’s a long line of cars at the drive-thru, take ice water or soda to the customers waiting. Don’t worry about the cost. Just get out there and serve them. Let them know how important they are to us.
I was one of those customers on a summer day, sitting in the car with my little guy. When I received our order, an item was missing. After asking about it, not only did they replace it, they gave us two milkshakes for free.
A few years ago the Preacher, aka my gifted-philisophical-Bible-teacher-husband-in-a-nondescript-sort-of-quirky-leader-body told me, he believes God’s purpose for him in ministry is to help others succeed in being all God created them to be.
The irony is, in serving others in this way, my husband’s calling is being fulfilled. And he’s becoming all God created him to be. His ministry and influence are expanding and his spiritual life is deepening. Amazing how those around him are being blessed!
Our lives will produce far more fruit by pursuing good things for others, than it will by ensuring our needs and desires are met first. This is the true sense of service.
I see it in him in these later years of our marriage and ministry. When after dinner he stays in the kitchen to rinse the dishes while I put them in the dishwasher, giving both of us more time to enjoy the evening… when he pulls out the iron and ironing board to iron his own clothes for the week, allowing me to focus on other tasks… when one of the church secretaries needs help on the computer… when a struggling friend calls and he goes over to help him with a project – he listens as they work side by side, and then encourages and directs with human compassion and the wisdom of God’s Word.
This valuable quality and prized commitment of any successful ministry is Service. In word and deed. Leadership isn’t about me or you or our personal entitlement – it’s about building up those around us. About encouraging their growth and advancement in God’s Kingdom for the benefit of the body of Christ and to magnify the Almighty God we’ve been called to serve.
Jesus modeled it.
And Moses understood it.
But two men had remained in the camp… and the Spirit rested upon them. Now they were among those listed, but who had not gone out to the tabernacle; yet they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp. So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, one of his choice men, answered and said, Moses my lord, forbid them! Then Moses said to him, Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them! And Moses returned to the camp, he and the elders of Israel. – Number 11:26-30
Our central focus in ministry must be continually on God. Someone else is proclaiming truth, experiencing the Holy Spirit’s anointing, reflecting the light of truth, and others are being blessed? Yes! In a dark world, what could be better? And why would anyone be opposed?
To be continued…