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Getting Over Me (published in The North Weld Herald 8/12/10)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:15 PM by Fccea Webmaster
An 11-year old boy attending a skiing school in Vail wrote the following to his mother in Denver: "Yesterday the instructor took eight of us to the slopes to teach us skiing. I was not very good at it, and so I broke a leg. Thanks goodness it wasn't one of mine."

That's a 21st century plan for advancement. Stay upright and break the legs of anyone who gets in the way!

Actually, it's an ancient philosophy. We even find it among Jesus' disciples the night before He was crucified. Luke tells us that "a dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest" (Luke 22:24).

This was not a new discussion for this group. Believing Jesus to be the true Messiah who would succeed in throwing off their Roman yoke, they were constantly vying for elevation to Secretary of State, of Defense, or the Treasury. They did not lack for ambition!

Jesus' response was astounding -- both in word and deed. What he said was, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves" (Luke 22:25-26). That was revolutionary. The one who is greatest is the one who serves?

But even more unnerving was what He did. According to John 13, "He got up, put aside his outer garment, wrapped a towel around his waist, washed all of their feet, drying them with the towel as He went." What He did was the epitome of the work of a servant -- a common task in that culture of dirt roads. But as no servant was there in the upper room, no one had bothered to accomplish this simple task. Easy to see why none of the disciples would have done so given what was on their minds.

But, can we really say that we are so much different from these men? Do not our ambitions also orient us away from the necessary but simple, small, unseen and generally unappreciated tasks, whether at home, at work, at school or wherever? Are we not also taught by precept and example to look out for Number 1, to avoid the mundane? Does our culture not honor self-promotion -- the louder and more obscene, the better?

Contrast that with Jesus who said, "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet" (John 13:14). He's looking for servants. And for good reason: "But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all" (Mark 10:43-44). God's plan for advancement. Nothing you would learn at Harvard Business School. Effective, but largely untried. Ironic, is it not -- the real key to advancement is a lot less of me and a lot more of others.

A few years ago, the athletic director at Clemson University was once asked if he would start a rowing program. Someone wanted him to add that to their discipline of sports. He said, "No. We're not going to have a sport where to score you sit down and go backwards." But the truth is, you can make a lot of progress by going backwards -- both in rowing and in life. Want to earn advancement? Want to be great? First you have to get over "me".

By His Grace, Pastor Dave