Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dealing with status: Jesus became our slave and thus became our master with a story from the life of Lawrence of Arabia, an observation and a prayer.

SCRIPTURE: Philippians 2:6, 7
He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!

Lawrence of Arabia, one of the most colorful characters in World War I, wrote of the Arabs: “No man could be their leader except he ate the ranks’ food and wore their clothes, lived on a level with them, and yet appeared better in himself.”

An so it was with Jesus. He lived out the reality of Sir Lawrence’s words except in one aspect and that made all the difference … he never felt nor saw himself better than anyone else. His desire was be everyone’s servant … or even better, their slave. It was only in the role of slave that he could fully serve the needs of human beings.

We are rank and file type people. We base our thoughts and decisions on things that are seen only on the outside. What they wear, what they drive and where they live. We normally ask first, “What do you do?” and then develop our opinion and organize our relationship based on the answer. Doctors get better treatment than a garbage collector ... but status means nothing to Jesus. In his eyes everyone is seen as an equal with him. He considers himself to be the least of them all.

He is everyone’s slave or he is no ones slave. He is everyone’s savior or he saves no one. He became one of us so that he could elevate us to be one with him … joint heirs of the kingdom … God’s kingdom.

He who was unbreakable became breakable. He who was all powerful became powerless. He who owned the universe became one of poverty. He who was divine became limited in every aspect as we. He who was bigger than life became the smallest of all … so that we could become like him in every way.

I love this quote from the writings of C. S. Lewis on equality: “Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.”

He who would be the master must first be the slave. So said Jesus … so lived Jesus … he illustrated it with his own life and death ... and thus, sends forth a beacon for us to move onward to a greater good.

Holy Father, your son, your only son Jesus became like one of us so that we could become like him. Sometimes we get it … sometimes we don’t. Forgive us when that happens and work with us until it is always true. For Christ’s sake!

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