Many years ago, I attended a large women’s conference in Southern California. When invited, I was given the impression that I would be called upon to say a few words. I didn’t plan an elaborate presentation, but simply prepared a short talk should the opportunity present itself.
As you can imagine, I dressed appropriately for the occasion, with a little extra flair to present a well-put-together kind of woman. Much of the event was being held outdoors in a beautiful California setting, so the dress was somewhat casual. I was given the name of a woman who would be my point of contact when I arrived. She would show me the ropes and make sure I knew what to do as a volunteer for the event.
I introduced myself around until I found my assigned person. She greeted me warmly and pointed me to the area that I had been assigned to serve. As we walked into the designated area, she picked up an apron and began to tie it gently around my waist. Then she handed me a huge kitchen knife and began to explain my assignment more thoroughly. “You will be cutting watermelon and cantaloupe to serve the ladies for lunch and breaks,” she informed me with a sweet smile on her face. “Thank you so much for being willing to help us,” she went on.
I was in shock. Concealing my true feelings, I smiled, took the knife from her hand and thought, “There must be some mistake.” Well, guess what? It wasn’t a mistake—that was my assignment for the day.
The Lord and I began to converse immediately as I drowned in my humiliation. “Lord, I don’t understand,” I protested. “This is not what you have called me to do.” He began to download to me like few times in my life, and then I knew it was a heavenly set-up. He began by saying, “Linda, I am God, but I humbled myself and became a servant.” I remembered Philippians 2, where Paul tells us that Jesus was equal to God and that he emptied himself and made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.
Those things that make us important in our world become unimportant in the upside-down Kingdom. He taught me that day as I fought to hold back the tears and continued to cut watermelon and cantaloupe with a joy that I didn’t know existed. Here are some of the things he taught me about His Kingdom:
To lead, you must serve.
To live, you must die.
To gain favor, you must cease your labors.
To be strong, you must be weak.
To be promoted, you must promote others.
To be rich, you must give everything away.
To win, you must be last.
The enemy and our human nature will always entice us to desire being at the top, to want the best and most prestigious—the most powerful! In the upside-down Kingdom, the servant is always at the top. The one who dies is the most powerful, and the richest give everything away.
I’m thankful for the gifts and talents that God has given me, and I want to use them for His Kingdom. But, I don’t ever want to forget that he is the giver of those gifts and talents, and without Him, I can’t do anything!
I am the vine, you are the branches; He who abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing (John 15:5).