I have had my fill with "bigshotitis." You know what bigshotitis is - it is that attitude that is centered on the perceived importance of self, nourished by a magnificently warped view of our own self-achievement, basted with a heavy dose of the sauce of arrogance and bragadociousness. Whew! That recipe stinks!
And the worst part of it all - I see it too often in myself. Ours is a day that instills pride and self-inflation as primary characteristics of a healthy self-esteem. We don't want our children to lose at athletic games because it may hurt there psychological development. We want them to make the highest grades in school (whether or not they earned them; it looks so good on the resume!). Ours is a culture that has so exalted self-deification that our bookstore chains have whole sections of the store dedicated to how to improve self (or at least, improve your opinion of yourself, whether you improve or not!). It is all so yucky! And worse, it is all so unbiblical!
I read our passage of Scripture referenced above, and I was once again struck by how God thinks so differently than we do. We want to order people around, God says serve them. We want to be thought important in the eyes of others, God says humble yourself. We want to be big shots, but God says be a servant. We want others to invest in us, God says give yourself to others. We are so backward, so upside-down, and so inside-out.
But I live with someone who lives what Jesus is talking about. His name is Joel, and Joel is my son. Joel is 17 years old, and Joel has the marvelous distinction of being very special - he has Down syndrome. Joel's emotional and spiritual DNA is a mosaic of giggles, hugs, kisses, and smiles that would bring the sunshine back on a dark and cloudy day. I come home to the patter of running feet to find Joel leaping into Daddy's arms, and giving him (me) a big, wet kiss. Priceless! The world calls Joel retarded; I call him, "gifted." The world calls him a burden; I call him a "delight." The world calls him limited; I see the unlimited love potential of a boy whose heart is as big as Texas. On the day Joel was born I said, "What am I going to do with Joel?" Now, seventeen years later, I say, "What would I do without Joel?" Something has changed. Life hasn't changed but I've changed. Joel has been my teacher and mentor. He is showing me the beauty of simplicity, the majesty of love, and the glory and depth of sweetness. I want to be more like Joel! I think God wants me to be more like Joel. I think Joel is more like Jesus than I ever will be.
I think Jesus was describing Joel in Matthew 18. May God give us all minds to understand and hearts to embrace the wisdom of gentleness and kindness. May God give us the joy in knowing God's ways are way above our ways. May God give us the courage to grasp God's ways and will regardless of what the world says. Amen!