Monday, August 22, 2016

Proverbs 25: 6-7 Going Up by Climbing Down

KEY TEXT: Proverbs 25:6-7 Do not put yourself forward in the king's presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, "Come up here," than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

KEY THOT: If we try to exalt ourselves by taking up the seat of honour reserved for the VIP, we will be humiliated when we are asked to move to a lower position when the more deserving person comes along. So this proverb advises us to always choose the lowest and humblest position so that there is only one way to go—up! Don’t seek the highest position of power and influence, but rather seek the lowest position of a servant and humble service. It’s better to be promoted through our humble service than to be demoted because of our striving for the position of power and influence. 

What is office politics but a struggle for positions of power and influence? This attitude is comletely antithetical to kingdom values. Kingdom people instead should focus on providing the most excellent service to internal and external customers in our workplaces--not for pay nor for position but because we are representatives of the King. Instead of protecting our turfs to ensure our survival, we should be providing humble servant-like service to all alike--whether for insiders or outsiders and whether for superiors or subordinates. While we cannot change the world's tendency to engage in power struggles, as believers we must model a different kingdom lifestyle--one  that is marked by not by power struggle but by power distribution to those who are working hard for the welfare of the organization or its people. 

The same can be said about churches too. Too often divisions in the church are caused by power struggles but often under the guise of theological differences or over the issue of authority. If those who are on the top of the spiritual food chain focus on serving those at the lower rungs, there will be less desire for position of honour--for the higher we go, the lower we need to be in our attitude of servanthood and service.  Jesus himself modeled for us the kingdom path to power and influence--by taking on the lowest position as slave of all in order that he might be exalted to be Lord of all: 
  • Philippians 2:5-11 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Father, help us to be like Your Son, seeking to climb up the corporate ladder by climbing down. Amen.

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