HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
Philippians 2:5-8 says: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Jesus shed Heaven and descended into the muck of earth, where all its inhabitants were jockeying for more clout, more esteem, more money, more power, more respect, more, more, more. He walked away from perfection in order to be a friend and neighbour to damaged goods.
Paul says Jesus took the position of a slave “and was born as a human being.” It’s worded as though it was a remarkable choice because it was. By leaving the physical presence of God, walking away from absolute holiness and a sweeping absence of darkness in order to move “into the neighbourhood” (John 1:14, The Message) of soul-poverty and hearts that had lost their way, His intentions were clear. He didn’t cop to our “smart” standards of behaviour. He didn’t stick to the script when it came to social strata, class systems, and acclaim. He essentially showed up and demolished our regime.
That He came to be with us when He could have kept His post at the right hand of God should send us running breathlessly into every busted-up city, every barred-up shack, every cave, every cell, every pain-drenched street corner we can find in order to bring the good news.
Instead, we react exactly as expected, threatened by His choices and defensive over the way they cast shadows on our own. We want an out so bad. The company He kept and the way He valued nothing but relationships and eternity have us scrambling for an excuse to keep zipping through life with our shades on.
Christ chucked His status in order to walk with the forsaken, and I can’t be bothered to invite them over for a cookout.
Jesus chose to show up on our lowest rung of social hierarchy as a squirming babe, painting a clear picture of His subversive take on status. An equivalent for us might be to scrap our air-brushed lives in order to take on the life of the woman we just imagined, then live it with her. He came in the form of us, living a life similar to ours, but He also came to live with us.
This central act of witness set the stage for the incarnation of Christ — you and me wearing His love like a shawl, sacrificing our own comfort to lay it warm against another. This is no accident, and we’ve got to pay attention.
Embracing our smallness is the skeleton key for living an abundant life.
This is the hope we’ve been given.
Living small is not about having less, but being less — less respected in the eyes of the world,
- less successful,
- less wealthy,
- less esteemed,
- less you.
- Less me.
And more Jesus. Here, in this abundance of less, where more of us is stripped away, we’ll uncover the person we were made to be, the one created in the image of a God who sank holy feet into our human mess.
Jesus picked the short guy, the odd guy, the old guy, the sin-prone guy. He picked the seductress, the simple, the sick.
Your son is dying? Lower him down. Do you want to see Me? Climb down. Do you say you love Me? Fall down.
Weak is strong, small is big, and less has most definitely always been more.
Go ahead and sigh, because it turns out we weren’t made for world domination or national notoriety. We are small. We were not made for greatness, and our positioning inside the framework of forever is sort of irrelevant. The God of the universe, the only one who can break our chains, is calling us down.