Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself … Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant … Philippians 2:3, 5 – 7 (NAS)
Have you ever walked into a room, seen the beautiful centerpiece situated on the table, and quickly stooped down to admire the table legs supporting it? Or sat in your host’s most comfortable chair and continued to rave about the chair legs which held you up? Probably not. However, the truth is that, without those table legs, we would be sitting on the floor — the table top right next to us. The centerpiece would never be noticed or appreciated. As neglected of attention and admiration as those table legs are, they are doing what they were made to do. And because of their support, something beautiful is realized.
Too often, we as believers want to be like the centerpiece. We may fall into the trap of determining our worth by the way we perform. To be affirmed, appreciated, and accepted is something we all desire. For many, to be noticed and to stand out from the crowd as one who is accomplished and successful is important. Accolades and affirmation from others spur us on and may feed the lie within us that, when we are performing well, we will be noticed. We will hear positive feedback, get that pat on the back, or see the results of our labor. That means the opposite is true as well: If we’re not noticed, or we don’t receive the affirmation we think we need from others, we must not be performing well. Therefore we may question our value, our purpose, our calling, or even God’s plan.
Let’s go back to truth. God didn’t call us to be the centerpiece. He called us to be the table legs which lift others to exalt the centerpiece, Jesus Christ. God has called us to be servants, to come underneath others and be an invisible strength and support. Instead of elevating ourselves, Scripture says we are to regard others as more important. To regard means not only to think of or consider — but also to lead. We are to lead others by serving them — just like Jesus did.
If you want to make a difference in the lives of others, love them well and influence them for Christ; if you want to experience true joy and grow to be more like Jesus, lead others by serving them. Invest in them, encourage them, help them get ahead. If you have an intimate love relationship with Christ and feel “unnoticed,” it may be that He is teaching you what it looks like to be a servant leader. Servant leaders aren’t always visible. Jesus just asks them to be available. Are you content to go unnoticed?
For Your Reflection:
In your own life, what have you strived to be — the table legs or the centerpiece?