It has been a good week. Started out terribly busy with a 3:30 and 4:30 wakeup two days in a row and too much driving but finally evened out to a pretty normal week.
On Tuesday I met with a group of 20 pastors (and 2 of their wives) for what I thought was a pastors' conference. Turned out to be this little meeting outside which, had I known, I would have brought a better hat. Anyway, we went through a passage in Philippians 2, part of which says this,
"3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."
Well, we talked about it and challenged each other and then played soccer for 2 hours. It was great.
But I have been haunted this whole week. I mean, go back and read that verse again. In the context of the letter Paul wrote, he's not telling this to some group of baby Christians but an incredible church fellowship whom he loves deeply. If the life of Christ in you matters at all, if being a Christian has made any difference to you whatsoever, then do this thing. Have the attitude that Christ had when he became a baby and remained obedient to the point of death by crucifixion.
Have humility in regard to other people! Look at them and tell them, "You are better than me." "You are more important than I am." "I am less important than you and I will demonstrate that by how I treat you."
It's mind blowing!
How much more contrary to my own nature can I be asked to think? Good gracious I do not do this well. I want to be right or smarter or holier or more clever or funnier or better looking or richer or nicer or more talented than everyone else. Not LESS then they! I want to be BETTER then them.
Oh, my soul.
What did my example do? He washed the feet of dock workers and IRS agents. He touched people with AIDS and ate dinner near hookers. He told the great preachers and pastors of his day that they didn't get it at all - they had it all wrong. He, the only person who did not deserve to serve us, served us and died for the people who hated him saying, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."
In the mystery of the Incarnation, God got tired and hungry and thirsty and died so that we could be saved. I won't even get uncomfortable. I don't understand the God-man, my Jesus, and what all happened for him to be "found in human likeness". But I know what he did. I know what his attitude was. It was that of a servant. He looked to the broken and the stinky and the dirty and the self-righteous and said, "I consider you as more important than myself" and he gave his life so that we could all be saved.
If I applied even 2% of that, my entire life would be revolutionized and the lives of all the people around me as well. If I took one person, every day, and said, "You are more important than me and I am going to treat you like it" I can't even imagine what a difference that would make. Change my attitude to change my actions. Wow. I am challenged.
So, anyway, that's been stuck in my brain all week and I am constantly reminded by that verse, evaluating what I just did in light of that verse, and thinking about what I need to do differently. I'm so thankful the Lord is patient with me. If he were like me, I would have no hope at all.