Daily Reading: Philippians 2:1–11

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Phil. 2:8)

Take One for the Team

Two volleyball teams represented our church at the tournament for high school students. The youth pastor divided us so that the teams would be equal. We could have won with our best players on one team, and I pointed that out to him throughout the evening. He finally responded, “Dave, church isn’t about always showing that you’re the best. Everybody here knows you’re a good athlete. Try showing them you’re a good Christian brother by being focused on great fellowship instead.”

When Jesus took on the nature of a servant, He didn’t relinquish His deity. He never downplayed His divine nature, either. So, humility isn’t always about somebody diminishing an inflated self-perception. Sometimes it’s about knowing who you are and choosing to take on the appearance of something less. Jesus knew full well who He was and what He was capable of. He’s always been equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Yet, He humbled himself by setting aside His right to a lifestyle fit for a King and accepted a lowly appearance so that the Father’s plan would be accomplished through Him.

Paul didn’t forbid all ambition—just the selfish kind (v. 3). When you strive for success, make sure that what you’re aiming for is first of all in God’s best interest. And feel free to take one for the team once in awhile.

Take a step back from the spotlight and encourage someone else to fill in.

Dave Knickerbocker and his family live in Ohio. He has been pastor of three churches, two as church plants.