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Losing to Win

This summer, I’ve been pondering the meaning/reason of life a lot. At the marriage of a friend in July, I realized that, to quote my journal, “Marriage is … the coming together of two people to serve God together—him, whatever way God called him; and me, helping him. It’s not about me… it’s about serving God. Whoever He thinks I can best help and so serve Him best.”

A little later, the following verses were impressed on my heart:

Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, “Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?”
And the King shall answer and say unto them, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me. For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in My name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

Matthew 25:37-40 & Mark 9:41

The words spoke deeply to me about the importance of serving the little ones… in my case, my siblings. I’ve been working hard on helping them with what they need, going out of my way to serve them, speaking nicely to them, being there for them. I’ll be the first to say it isn’t easy to roll out of bed and heat up a wheat bag at 10:41 PM or apologize for snapping when someone’s been nagging you… but it’s worth it.

After that, the story of the good and faithful servants versus the wicked and slothful servant spoke strongly to meet about the importance of serving God, going and gaining, and giving Him double—however small the double is—as opposed to burying it and giving Him back what is His (“there thou hast that is thine”) without even usury.

The Gospels speak much of being a servant, reminding us that ‘the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister,’ and ‘the disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.’

We often here about Jesus serving (washing of feet, anyone?) but pausing to consider it is really… humbling. When struggling to admit to my brother that I was wrong, realizing that the Lord and Master, the All-Mighty, the Sustainer, was humble enough to kneel and wash the feet of common men, it get a glimpse of what true humility is… and what true greatness is.

Because we often hear we should be servants. It’s a well-known fact bandied about.

Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. And Jesus said unto them, “He that is least among you all, the same shall be great.

Luke 9:46-48, abridged by me

This is a well-known sentiment. Sometimes I think we claim it as a consolation (“well, at least if I have to serve, it means I’m the greatest!”) . But recently I’ve been considering the truth of that statement.

If you know anything about me, you know I love Basic Principles of Speech. I use it to back up most of the strong points I make, because it’s such a powerful, truthful book and states thing so succinctly. One of my favourite chapters (among all my other favourite chapters) is the one where they explain how to vanquish stage fright.

The chief remedy is for the speaker to focus his attention on something outside himself…. When a speaker is eager to fight for a cause, an issue, a principle, or an institution, he is truly girded for battle. When he is not only eager to share his knowledge but also his passion for a cause, he is likely to lose his fears in something bigger than himself and bigger than his audience; something of greater moment to him than anything his audience can say of him, or think of him, or do to him…. When a speaker’s attention is thus focused on a great principle, it cannot be focused on anything as small as himself. As a rule his apprehensions for himself vanish. [H]eroic leaders rise like a cloud of witnesses to prove that anyone who is gripped by a great purpose outside himself is not liable to be gripped by the fear of an audience…. It is as true on the public platform as it is elsewhere in life, that he who finds his life shall lose it, and he who loses his life in any great cause shall find life, and find it more abundantly.

Basic Principles of Speech by William Trufant Foster & Lew Sarrett, 1946 edition

Life consists of serving. All work serves someone, in some way or another. A teacher serves you by bringing you from one level of information to a higher one. A pastor serves you by ministering to your spiritual needs. A doctor serves his patients. A mother serves her children. A husband serves his wife. An author serves the people he is speaking for (Dickens, the voice for poverty-stricken children) or the people he is seeking to aid (Austen, who shows us our human struggles and points to us the good and the wrong way).

Not only does all life consist of serving, but greatness consists of serving. A great leader serves something greater than himself. Winston Churchill served by leading his people through war and strengthening Europe against Nazisim. It wasn’t about W.S.C.; it was about England. Christian X of Denmark served by sending all Jews over to safe Sweden. It wasn’t about his life or his throne; it was about his people. On the other hand, you have Napoleon, who served his own glory; or Hitler, who served his own idea. It wasn’t about the wellbeing of Hans German or Jacques Frenchman, it was about Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler and what he wanted.

Greatness consists of putting yourself aside and pouring yourself into people—really serving them without any thought of what your personal cost or win can be. People who are too big to serve are little people.

He that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

Matthew 23:11-12 & Luke 9:24

Published by Katja L.

Hello! :) I'm Katja. I'm a Canadian bibliophile, book reviewer, writer, and child of God. I love too many things to name, but among them are chocolate, heirlooms, history, fancy handwriting, grammar & punctuation, laughter, tearjerking books, lists, organized bookshelves, pink roses, flowing skirts, hymns, and pretty much anything old-fashioned, beautiful, & classy.

4 thoughts on “Losing to Win

  1. Wonderful reminder, Katja! The need for humility part really spoke to me.
    (Also, I like the rose at your signoff! Is it a new graphic?)

    Like

    1. Thank you, Charis! Praise God it was a blessing 🙂

      (Yes, thanks, I love it too! It’s a new thing for me but some of my posts were done so far in advance they have the old sign-off so I need to fix those :P)

      Like

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