“5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
“They Also Ran” is the title of a book which tells the stories of the vice presidents of the United States. The author of this book obviously felt the need to push these members of the support cast onto center stage, at least for a moment. But that is not where they belong. Those who run in this second position must learn to stand in the wings.
I served a congregation many years ago in northern Minnesota. One of my members was an unassuming, elderly gentleman named Solon who owned a small business in town. I was always struck by his gentle bearing and unwavering goodwill. I can still see him taking his place on Sunday morning, sitting quietly, head bowed, his hands folded in his lap. It was only years later that I learned of his many accomplishments in business and politics, his wide-spread reputation for integrity, his selfless giving to others. He never spoke of these things.
Solon could have stood on the platform of his accomplishments, which were many, in the effort to keep himself in the limelight. In the years I knew him those accomplishments were unknown to me. What he did speak of was the greatness of God, and all God had done to accomplish our salvation through Jesus Christ. Solon was content to stand in the wings in order that all the glory might belong to His Lord Jesus Christ.
We were created to be “also rans”, not self-promoters; deliberate support cast in the competitions and busyness of life. The spirit of pride always seeks the limelight. The Christian knows that life is lived in the shadow of God’s grace. We may achieve much in this life, by earthly standards, but when seen in the light of God’s greatness and power our greatest accomplishments are pale reflections of a greater light, at best.
There is One alone who commands center stage. And this is not because He has seized power with the ballot box or marching armies, demanding that all accolades be directed His way. Rather, the Glory of Christ is His suffering and death upon the cross. For in that lonely, dying figure whose life-blood was poured out at the hands of sinful men and women, God revealed that His heart is full of mercy; and His glory is that this same mercy is poured out in love for sinners, like you and me.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in
Christ Jesus our Lord.”