Nobody Wants to Play Rhythm Guitar Behind Jesus
These past two Sundays at Your Church I’ve been speaking to everyone about having the right mindset, or attitude. I’ve pivoted my messages from the verses found in Philippians chapter 2 where Paul is endeavoring to help the newfound church with their thinking towards themselves and others. One of the main thread lines of thought, in my words, has to do with not seeing yourself as God’s gift to the human race. I know, I know, this comes as a shock, right? The fact is, at some point in time we all have had to deal with some strand of thinking we are better than others. Why? We are born with it. We learned at a young age how to fight, how to blend in and how to stand up for ourselves. We developed stereotypes and strong opinions of how we saw ourselves and how we viewed others – and even how we classified them. Some of it probably has to do with how we were ‘wired’ (like our gifting and such), but for others it was the environment we grew up in and the quality of friends/family we had around us. Long story short, it’s inevitable that to some degree we think of ourselves as better than others.
I spent the first 36 years of my life in the frozen tundra called Canada. It was my home and native land. I thought it was the greatest place on earth to live. Canadians were more friendly to mankind than our cocky American neighbors. We had more lakes than America. Better fishing and better hunting. We had real athletes who played real sports like hockey, not football. We were welcomed all over the world and liked so much that we didn’t even need a military. We celebrated holidays that we made up. We had better coffee, better beer (though I hate the taste of it) and created the world renown poutine craze. Yes, some of the greatest people in the world came from Canada…that is until I made my first overseas trip to Portugal. There I met people who seemed more friendly than us. I ate better tasting food and saw sights that were more spectacular. After a week I realized that some of the greatest people in the world might actually have come from Portugal…until I moved to Texas. You get the pic?
I think it’s so easy to get caught up with thinking that we are better than others. I remember a song I heard as a kid from the Oak Ridge Boys entitled, “Nobody wants to play rhythm guitar behind Jesus.” Isn’t that so legit?? With Jesus in the band we want to be the lead singer. What Paul addresses here in Philippians is that if we allow the mindset of being better than others to become bedrock in our thinking it can result in actions and attitude that will inevitably steer us away from our calling, direction and purpose. Paul therefore uses Jesus as the point of reference to instruct us that a newfound mindset of humility and servitude is necessary in every endeavor, every relationship and every situation. A new mindset while we are at our job. A new mindset while at home. A new mindset while in church, at school, towards our neighbors, towards our family and our friends. A new mindset that says, “I’m here to serve.” A mindset that doesn’t do it for the recognition, promotion or the pay. It’s an attitude of sincerely wanting to help others succeed. A willingness no matter what the position, to roll up our sleeves and get down in the trenches. What’s ironic is that Paul warns us that it’s also an attitude which will be challenged with wanting to complain, argue and blame those who make life difficult. Gee, doesn’t that sound familiar?! Here’s the best part. However difficult it life may tend to be, this new attitude is also one that God doesn’t ignore. Paul says it’s an attitude He exalts, recognizes, promotes and pays. That makes it worth it.
Long story short, serving others isn’t always fun but having that heart of humility while serving is actually doing something bigger in us than the ones we serve. From God’s perspective, our destiny is tied to this new attitude and so is our promotion!
Philippians 2:3-4 (New International Version)
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.