Ever since I can remember, I have been encouraged to achieve. Parents, teachers, preachers and friends all try and encourage. To Christians, UP is where we look. Heaven is perceived as up. That is where God lives. Jesus went up to the heavens and UP is where we want to go at life’s end.
Is it any wonder our modern society seeks to be upwardly mobile? Yuppies with puppies now teach those kids that UP is where we want to go and so goes society, including those of us trapped in the modern age of ever-changing technology. Even church people want success. After all, it is a sign of great faith and blessing. “Bless me oh Lord and make me successful,” is often our prayer.
How about downwardly mobile? “No way!” you say. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I want to be a successful Christian!”
OK, you are a Christian so, let’s look at Christ:
He is God.
He came down from heaven to become man.
He owned everything yet he lived in the poverty of his time.
He was hated by many and was crucified.
Does that sound like upwardly mobile and successful to you?
Paul wrote the church at Philippi saying to them (and us) …”though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God… but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, ….he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Read Philippians 2:1-8 and take the test. Do you seek selfish ambition over the interest of others? Does being a Christian give you conceit?
Paul encourages us toward humility as Christ was humble and came as a servant. His was the mind of love and sacrifice. Is that who we are? How often do you get in the muddy ditch to help others out? That would be inconvenient. How often do you pass that car with the hood up and clouds boiling out only to get on the other side to see a young woman in the rear view mirror.
“Well, it is the age of cell phones and she will get help and I have to be somewhere.” Yes, it sounds like me too, but it doesn’t sound like those who serve in this ministry where life is harder and a cell connection may be out of range. It makes me wonder, even worry about where our upwardly mobile society is really headed and is it really out for the good of mankind.
Verses 9 – 11 tells us the blessing God gave his servant son, Jesus. He gave him a name above every name and it is at the mention of that name that every knee shall bow in heaven, on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
We Christians, understand the works of Calvary are finished. There will be no further sacrifice offered for salvation. It is complete. Paradise has been led on high and Satan, with all his angels has been defeated. They have all bowed their knees and confessed the Lordship of Jesus. Our job is to spread that Good News that others may know what the devils already know.
We all have different parts to play as servants and members of the Body of Christ. Our world is different from the world of those men and women who serve this ministry in Africa. We rush onward more than they. Our realization of success is different than theirs.
Finding how we can best serve may be a simple as sharing of our financial blessing by writing a check to support their work. Does being upwardly mobile call you to sacrifice?
Tom Wright is the founder of Global Outreach and board member of Barry Wood Ministries.