“But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant”

Matthew 23:11

I think its pretty obvious to most people that those among us who choose to live their lives for the benefit of others and to serve are the most satisfied in life. Sure, people will disappoint us and let us down but some will surprise and delight us. Yes, some will make us cry while others bring tears to our eyes and set us on a natural high. The servants in life are the ones who make the greatest impact on us and whose lives will be remembered long after they are gone. An old saying comes to mind this morning as I study the life of Jesus in the book of Philippians. It went like this, “when you were born you cried while the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a way that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.”

The apostle Paul just might have had that thought in mind when he penned the words in Philippians 2:5-11, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

In a world that measures success by coming in first and climbing the ladder to the top the word of God makes clear the real winners are those who race to the bottom and who experience the joy of not running on ahead but seek to lift others up by coming along behind. It was Jesus who said, “the greatest among us shall be the servant” and it was the apostle Paul who wrote to help us understand it was Jesus willingness to take the lowest place when He chose to be our substitute and die in our place on Calvary’s Cross that exalted Him to the throne.

Because “The first shall be last and the last shall be first” our race today will be won not by reaching the top but the bottom, not by ascending and being served but descending to the place of serving. Just think, on the night Jesus was betrayed we have a vivid and beautiful reminder of servitude at the Last Supper where Jesus, who being God took off his outer garment and began to wash the disciples feet giving them and us an example to follow. Remember, the race isn’t to the top but to the bottom, the greatest are not those who have the most servants at their beck and call but the ones who see people as an opportunity to sacrifice for and to serve in Jesus name!  

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Philippians 2:3-4


Michael Osthimer





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