Story of the Day for Saturday October 29, 2011
We All Win Together
Do nothing from selfish ambition or vanity. Instead, in humility consider others better than yourselves. Look out – not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Jesus lived in a “high status” culture. People were quite competitive about their ranking in society. Even where you sat at a meal indicated your rank.
Have you noticed how often Jesus’ disciples argue about rank? The gospels portray them as quite competitive. Jesus reveals for the first time that he is the Messiah, and that he will sacrifice his life for others. The disciples don’t get it. Soon Jesus catches them arguing about who is the greatest. When the kingdom comes in glory, James and John ask if they can have the highest seats of honor next to Jesus. Even at the Last Supper, Luke tells us the disciples were arguing about who is greatest.
In the end, however, Jesus transformed a handful of vain and self-centered followers into a body where no one was obsessed with outdoing the others. Just as all the parts of a body work for the good of the whole, so we are to be “one in spirit and purpose.” That is why Paul urges us that “each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also the interests of others.”
Don’t get me wrong: competition is not always bad. High school sports are a form of competition. So is business. Even though these forms of competition can easily get out of hand, they are not inherently bad.
All the same, Jesus has made it clear that our purpose in the body of Christ is not to compete for the highest status, but to lower ourselves to serve. Those who kneel to wash the feet of others are the “greatest” in the kingdom.
Some Christian missionaries lived among the Agta Negritto people in the Philippines. They introduced them to the game of croquet. They gave everyone a mallet and a ball and showed them, not only how to hit the ball through the wickets, but how to knock someone else’s ball out of the way.
The Negrittos didn’t understand. “Why would I want to knock his ball out of the way?”
“So you can win!” the missionaries explained.
The Negritto people survive by working together as a community, so they did not understand this kind of competition.
The Negrittos ended up ignoring the missionaries’ advice. They shouted encouragement to each other until the last person completed the course and then they shouted, “We won! We won!”
That is how we live in the body of Christ. We all win together.
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)