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SERVANT LEADERSHIP

April 24, 2014

Thursday

 

Philippians 2:3-8
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!

 

EXAMPLE

 

The great violinist, Niccolo Paganini willed his marvelous violin to city of Genoa on condition that it must never be played. The wood of such an instrument, while used and handled, wears only slightly, but set aside, it begins to decay. Paganini’s lovely violin has today become worm-eaten and useless except as a relic. A Christian’s unwillingness to serve may soon destroy his capacity for usefulness.

– J.K. Laney

 

LESSON

 

If I ever reach heaven I expect to find three wonders there: first, to meet some I had not thought to see there; second, to miss some I had expected to see there; and third—the greatest wonder of all—to find myself there. Paul begins by contrasting humility with its opposites: selfish ambition and vanity. Selfish ambition is what motivated those who sought to take advantage of Paul’s imprisonment. Selfish ambition seeks to gain at the expense of others. Humility desires the advance of others, at our expense. This is the way Paul felt toward the Philippians . It is the way Timothy felt as well . Pride and ambition are a part of our fallen nature, inciting us to compete with others, rather than to contribute to their well-being.

If we are truly humble, we are not impressed with ourselves, and we are not desperately seeking to enhance our own standing. Paul’s words in the last half of verse 3 are crucial to us, and it is most urgent that we properly understand what he is saying, and what he is not saying! We are to treat one another as “more important than” ourselves. The translations differ here, and some are misleading, in my opinion. A number of them render the verse in such a way as to indicate that we must consider others “better” than ourselves. Our Lord is the model for humility, and we would surely not think that He considered sinful men “better than” Himself. The danger is that we will only consider those “better” than ourselves whom we think are better—and if we are arrogant, that won’t be very many people!

 

Memory Verse: John 3:30

 

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