A Difference Between Jesus and Us
Achieving less can be more, but this doesn't naturally occur to us, particularly when we are young. Young leaders have a great deal of optimism. They have plenty of bounce and resiliency, because there is always tomorrow, another opportunity, another position. But as the years pass and fame and fortune continue to give us the slip, we grow weary of trying to make it big. One difference between Jesus and most of us is that he willingly took a role that limited him. He chose to descend into greatness. He took less because it was more, and to do so was his nature. We often take less because it is all that we have. That has certainly been the case for me.
I have grown tired of trying to prove myself and nudge my way into a more prominent position. Prominence in my work is about being heard, being taken seriously. No significant honors have come my way—no honorary doctorates, book awards, commencement addresses, honorary roasts, and so on. I laughingly recall the routine comedic actor Red Buttons gave at the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. He would question why, let's say, Milton Berle was being given a dinner in his honor. Buttons pointed out that Moses never got a dinner, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington—none of these important people ever got a dinner. Then he asked, "So why is this schmuck, Milton Berle, getting a dinner?" Well, add me to the list. I've never had a dinner given in my honor. I can't even win the Layman of the Year award at my church. I had hopes of being on Larry King Live, but then he retired and went off the air. So it goes.
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Sad, isn't it? I am like an elderly woman dressed in an evening gown waiting to be discovered by her Prince Charming. I have found solace in being loved; I am told it is much better than being famous. (I am suspicious, however, that this is what famous people tell us because they don't want to share their fame.) Several times a week, though, I do get notes, e-mails, voice messages, tweets, and Facebook comments like this one:
Merry and Happy! Thank you for your friendship and witness. Your work for the Lord has changed the way I look at my faith and belief and the practice of it. I have no doubt that the Father led me to your ministry of discipleship. It has changed for the better my concept of "church." It has invigorated my prayer life, and reinforced my desire to practice the disciplines that lead to effective discipleship.
Okay, notes like this are better than a dinner. But I have found that becoming something else can be a rather ignominious process into which I have been dragged kicking and screaming.
That’s the difference between us and Jesus: he chose to be limited and we have a hard time doing just that.
Written by Bill Hull
Taken from The Christian Leader by Bill Hull. Copyright © 2016 by Robert W. Hull. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.