WHEN LESS BECOMES MORE
26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28
I know that for many of us we have grown up in this culture where our mentality is always more is greater. I know that we have been able to push ourselves to reach the top of our professions or friend groups in order that we can feel as though we have accomplished our goals only to find that we have another mountain to climb. The real struggle comes when trying to achieve these goals, we sometimes our vision becomes very narrow and mostly only focuses on us. Now, as I say this... I am right there with you. I know that there are many times in my life that I have focused only on me and trying to achieve what I thought my definition of success should be in this world. I know that it was about climbing the ladder and being only focused on my goals and never really looking at what I may be missing that is right beside me.
Once again, this concept hit me really hard at a worship night that I attended in my younger ministry days. I remember listening to the speaker talk about the Jesus concept. And of course I knew what I thought the Jesus concept was, but the more the person spoke... the
more I realized I had totally missed the mark. They began to talk about a scripture in John 3:30 where we see the words, "He must become greater and I must become less." I think for the first time in my life I finally realized that in so many different ways I was doing ministry and structuring my life in such the wrong direction. I remember being a young minister saying that I cannot wait to, one day, be leading my own conferences and teaching hundreds of students on a weekly basis. I was focusing on my goals to becoming greater and completely missing out on the concept of why I was created in the first place. I saw it again a few weeks later when the same person was talking about the attitude of John the Baptist when just walked up. John, who had grown a pretty intimate group of followers, were upset that Jesus had come in to take over their "church". John immediately said no, this is the one I have been preparing the way for in order that others may follow Him. John's whole life and ministry was NEVER about HIM... It was ALWAYS about preparing the way for others to encounter Jesus. John was very happy just being someone who was behind the scenes and leading others to find Jesus.
In our scripture today, Jesus was dealing with the same mentality fo those who were trying to seek only their own personal gain. I know that may seem hard to believe when you are being lead by Jesus, but sometimes our ideals and dreams get in the way of truly seeing God's vision. In this case, a parent, who was only looking out for the best interest of her sons, approaches Jesus and requests that they are given positional authority in the eyes of their followers. In modern day, it would be so similar to our parents doing all that they could do to help their son/daughter to get a leg up on the competition. Her desire was that her sons be successful and she was doing it with good intentions and poor vision. Jesus then steps in and helps us see the importance of being a servant versus being just a leader. A servant is a leader that is willing to lead others and also get their hands dirty. They are willing to be with those that lead. The concept that the world sees is that we want to get to the position where we no longer have to serve but are asking others to serve and carry out our vision. There is a very thin line there, but one that can cause us to begin falling down a very slippery slope. Jesus is showing us all that the way to truly connector and build community is to humble yourself and serve the people. If you truly want to know how to lead, step into someone's life and realize what they truly need. Jesus emphasizes the fact that in order to be first we have to willing to let go of the authority of the world and invest in the lives of those in need. Jesus did not come to be a king that was served. He came to be the KING that serves and helps others to see the fullness of God's calling in their lives as well.
For many of us, this is going to be a difficult task to achieve. We have been conditioned to always win no matter the cost. We have been told that the only true way to be successful is to be the winner. But remember Jesus flipped the script and told us that we have to lose our life to gain life. We have to be willing to see beyond what the world sees, and go where others are unwilling to go. When this message hit me in the heart, I prayed that for the rest of my life I would in such a way that less of me would produce more of God. I still find my competitive nature stepping in from time to time, but I also have realized that some of those days that I may have beat my dad in basketball or ping pong, he may have just let me win in
order that I would gain more confidence and strive for more. There will always be a day where we come to the realization of God's true calling in our lives and when the lessons really take root in our hearts. As I look over the last 29 years, I have watched as God has continued to teach me humility more and more. I don't really care if anyone knows my name, but I pray that I can help others to profess the name of Jesus. There has never been a more life-fulfilling experience than to watch as seniors graduate from high school, go into college and find their calling from God. I have the privilege of serving thousands of families, and each one of them has a piece of my heart. They may not realize until later down the road, but I pray that something that I said or showed them will deepen their desire to get to know God more deeply. As they drive down the road and my image fades into darkness, I pray that they look ahead and see the Light of Christ more intently directing their path. Less becomes more when we finally realize that the end goal is not about us. We cannot take the cars, the titles, homes, trophies, money, etc... with us. All of the world's accolades are left behind to eventually be sold, spent or thrown out. But what we can be left behind is the legacy of Jesus that will continue to transform lives way after we are even a memory. May I become less in order that others may see more of Christ.