Impact – Jonathan David Faulkner
Better Than Yourselves
Philippians 2:3-4 says: Do nothing from rivalry or conceit but in humility count others as more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but to the interests of others.
This summer we’ve been talking about ways to impact people for the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been a fun and exciting journey for me as I’ve grown a lot, and hope that you have grown as well. But here we are, Summer Cell is coming to a close and we meet one last time.
In Philippians 2 Paul is giving a great exhortation. The idea that the Philippians should consider others better than themselves was not only counter cultural it was also, in a sense, a rephrasing of the second greatest commandment. As if Paul is saying “if you love people, you will consider them better than yourselves.” The reason for this was so that the Philippians could continue to grow in Christ. Paul goes on to say “Each of you should have the very mind of Christ” (v. 5). Paul desired to see the Philippians grow and become Christ-like. Christ, we know loved others more than himself, God certainly does, John 3:16 comes to mind in the case of God loving us. But for the Philippians to consider others better than themselves, in Greco-Roman culture, that was just as radical.
Today it seems the same. Our culture claims to be much more advanced and evolved then the Roman Empire, but the same grab for power, desire for the best exists. For example, I recently witnessed a group of leaders on a college campus who were taught to be Servant Leaders going from room to room on move in day and grabbing the nicest mattresses and chairs because the mattresses and chairs were not as comfortable as the alternative. One young lady tried to justify herself by saying that she was giving the incoming freshmen “the freshmen experience.” Doing this by giving them the worst so you can have the best is hardly commendable, in fact Jesus tells us the opposite in Luke 14:11 “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Leadership is not an exalted position. Because we were selected for a leadership position does not mean we are special or deserve what is better than those we are leading. If we do anything we as leaders should follow the words of Paul and, in considering others better than ourselves. That means taking what is worst so that others can take what is better. Servant Leaders consider the comfort of others above their own comfort because they already consider others better than themselves. If we really want to be serious about it we could follow Jesus example, having no place to lay our head.
Donald Miller tells a story about meeting a family that spent six months living in a small, one-room shack in the dessert. They were well off with six kids, but he wanted his kids to appreciate what the average family went through. Because of that experience his kids decided to pool their money and give it all away like their parents. They experienced having nothing, living within limited means to learn how to serve others.
When we consider others better than ourselves we are removing what we believe makes us special and laying it at the feet of God. We then begin to build up and mold the lives of those around us, seeing their gifts as gifts and even training them to use them.
So you want to IMPACT people for Christ? Treat others like they are better than you, see their gifts and encourage them to use them. You might just surprise someone and be the vessel that God uses to transform their life.