Why Memorial Day is So Refreshing2
5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.
-2 Corinthians 4:5
This coming Sunday we’re looking forward to a great day of serving with our Chatham Serves event. If you haven’t yet gotten the word, this time around we’re all meeting up at Lowe’s Home Improvement in Pittsboro under a big tent in the parking lot for breakfast at 8:30 and a brief program--including a couple songs and hearing from one of the non-profits we’ve partnered with over the years--before we head out to our projects.
It’ll be part breakfast, part family reunion, part celebration of God’s work! We’re coming together to serve together! If you haven’t signed up yet, head on over to www.chathamserves.org.
Accordingly, throughout this week we’ll look at a variety of passages from both the Old and New Testaments that talk about serving.
Today’s passage is particularly powerful because of the contrast that the apostle Paul makes: his ministry is not about proclaiming himself but Jesus, with himself and his friends as servants for Jesus’s sake.
Part of what makes Memorial Day so refreshing is that it takes us out of ourselves for a bit. In an age of selfies, self-branding, social-media, and where the number one occupational aspiration of an entire generation is to be a famous Youtuber, even just a small displacement of self in order to proclaim something much greater is refreshing. “I’ll be famous someday” is the swelling chorus from a large and growing portion of our population. All the self-preoccupation gets tiresome and wearying, even for those who aren’t particularly spiritual.
In contrast, the apostle Paul’s radical commitment to his own displacement is jolting. Paul refuses to make his own fame his goal—it’s too small a thing to aim for. Paul has been displaced in his own life as the most important person in his own life. Jesus is. And so Paul is committed to making Jesus famous, not himself.
Paul is so devoted to that cause that he’s willingly surrendering his own authority and power in his relationship with the Corinthians. He has become a servant of the people in the church in order that they might know Jesus, worship Jesus, honor and venerate Jesus.
Of course, long before Youtube and selfies, the “self” has always been God’s primary competitor for the throne of our hearts. In every generation, all throughout history, we’ve created fresh tools to reinforce the illusion of ourselves at the center of the cosmos.
This morning, there’s an invitation to proclaim Jesus as Lord. And it doesn’t start with a neighbor or family member who doesn’t know Jesus. It starts with ourselves. It starts with the daily work of de-throning the self in order to make room for Someone much, much more significant at the center of our lives
And then, once we’ve had an inkling of that re-ordering, we’re invited to embrace the free and glad role of servants of the most High King, serving those around us.
Take a minute to give Jesus the throne of your life, surrendering your own attempts to be the center of your own cosmos. Ask Jesus to give you the grace to embrace the glad role of servant of the Most High King.