“Shoot for moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” We read quotes that inspire us to reach higher places, watch television shows that feature people who are in higher places, and read books that teach us how to get to those higher places. If you read the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it’s not how high you can go in this world, but instead the question is posed, “How low can you go?”
“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, ‘Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.’” (John 13:12-15) Why would Jesus, Lord of everything, God Himself, willingly submit to such a lowly, demeaning task? As Jesus said, “The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)
Jesus demonstrates God’s kingdom operates in complete opposition to the world. In John 12:25, he says, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” It makes sense: if we love our earthly life beyond all else, it’s doubtful we’ll sacrifice honor to seek out the humble, lowly jobs that put others first. Yet, Scripture urges us to, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourself.” (Philippians 2:3) The Gospel of Jesus Christ, with its call for unrelenting humility in a world of never-ending pride, is the most revolutionary, status quo-defying movement in history. If you’re looking to go against the grain, start with Jesus.
Everything in this world encourages us to pursue the highest levels of success, but over and over, the Gospel of Jesus Christ asks us to plunge into the deepest humility. In fact, the apostle Paul urges us to compete with one another, not in achievement, but in humility, asking us to, “Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10) If anyone could have rightly sought the highest places of the world, it would have been Jesus, but, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant…” (Philippians 2:6-7) Will we go higher or lower?