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Pastor’s Message

 

The Christian principle that needs to be at work is Spirit-generated selflessness—not thinking less of yourself or more of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” (Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, p. 66 hardcover edition)  “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:3-5

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

            Last night I came home from a meeting and my family was watching the Michigan vs. Nebraska men’s basketball game.  I only saw a few minutes of it, but while I was watching, Wagner (a Michigan player) had a really sweet rejection where he swatted the Nebraska player’s shot off the backboard and into the hands of a Michigan player.  After the awesome, “get that trash out of here” rejection he couldn’t stop himself—he had to say something to the Nebraska player he had just rejected.  We could not hear what he said but I suppose it was something to let the Nebraska player know “who was the man and who wasn’t.”  The referee promptly blew his whistle and issued a technical foul to Wagner for taunting.  This scenario has become an all too familiar one in sports these days.  A player makes a great play and he lets everyone know how great it was or how great he thinks he is.  The Super Bowl is this Sunday, and I would challenge you to even try to count how many times a player celebrates his great play with some show that exalts himself while putting down his opponent.  I don’t think you’ll be able to count that high! 

            People’s reactions to this show in sports are mixed.  The announcer during the Michigan vs. Nebraska game didn’t like the referee’s call and thought that the display of emotion issued by Wagner is just part of the game, and it is actually what fans want.  Many would agree with him.  Others, who are more “old-school,” frequently criticize athletes for these arrogant celebrations.  I admit, I tend towards the latter.  However, if I am honest, I have to admit that deep down I may not be as different from these athletes as I think I am.  I would like to think that if I was in that game and made a big play I would just run back to the huddle or run down the floor to take my position for the next play.  If I hit a homerun, I would drop the bat and run around the bases.  I wouldn’t show up the other players.  Though this may be true (but we will never know since I don’t think you will see me playing in any big games on TV anytime soon!), just think about the attitude that underlies my criticism of these players.  What am I thinking?  I am thinking, “If I were in their shoes, I wouldn’t do that!  I wouldn’t be so arrogant!”  Notice the arrogance and pride in my own thinking.  Without realizing it, my attitude toward these players isn’t really much different from their attitudes—“I am better than you are!”  This is the opposite of humility.  True humility considers others as more significant than ourselves.  True humility thinks about yourself less. 

            The only one who actually lived this way all the time was Jesus—and he was hated for it!  People looked at Jesus and they were jealous.  In our arrogance and pride we don’t want to look at anyone else and say, “You are better than me!”  We don’t even want to do this with Jesus!  But, in humility, Jesus truly did and does consider us as more significant than himself.  He humbled himself and laid down His life for us.  Now, there is even hope for us.  Listen again to the line from Philippians 2, “Have this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus…”  In Christ, our mind is different!  We don’t only think the old way that we once did in our sin.  The Holy Spirit is generating selflessness in us. Today, pray that the Lord would continue to work the mind of Christ in you so that you count others as more significant than yourself. 

                                                                                                                                                            In Christ,

 

                                                                                                                                                            Pastor Liebich