I know this is sort of an odd title for a post, but I got to thinking while I was reading my Bible this morning. And it struck me that the way things are done in the Kingdom of God can seem pretty strange to unbelievers – it’s a completely upside down and backwards way of thinking and living!
Think about it for a moment! From an earthly perspective, who would God be most likely to choose to carry out His work here on earth? People who are considered great and important, who have a following… those who are considered wise – the people that others listen to… the strong – people who are not easily shaken and who will take a stand without fear!
But God’s view of what is truly great, and wise, and strong is different from man’s view. Instead of the great, the wise, and the strong, for generations God has been using the lowly, the foolish, and the weak in the eyes of the world to accomplish great things for His kingdom.
I looked up the word “greatness” on Wikipedia, and thought I’d include a little excerpt of the article:
“Greatness is a concept of a state of superiority affecting a person, object or place. The concept carries the implication that the particular person or object, when compared to others of a similar type, has clear and perceivable advantage.”
In other words, greatness is about superiority, about being bigger and better than those around you. It is about achievement, surpassing, standing out! It brings along with it notoriety, fame, and a “great” reputation!
Kingdom view: The servant
Matthew 20:25-28 “Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
Wow. What an upside down and backwards view. Greatness in the Kingdom of God has less to do about you – making you stand out and be great – than about others – serving them and making them great. To be great in the Kingdom of God is to be a servant… and to be humble. No fame… no reputation… no notoriety; a simple humble servant who more often than not instead of standing out, fades into the background and is forgotten now, but not later.
Who is considered wise in the eyes of the world? Well, who does the world go to for answers to life questions? The intellectuals? Those who have multiple degrees? The media? (It’s sad but true!)
The Kingdom View: The foolish/Children
Instead of the wise, God chooses the foolish in the eyes of the world to accomplish great things!
I Corinthians 18-19 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”
Matthew 11:25 “ At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”
Mark 10:15 “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Again. This is so upside down and backwards – so opposite to what you would expect! And this principle even extended to those Jesus picked to be his disciples. Who were they? Rich men? Great men? People of standing and knowledge? No. Ignorant fisherman. A tax collector! Considered foolish in the eyes of the world, they were ready to follow Him with the simple faith and understanding of children.
The strong are those who take charge, who will lead without faltering, who are self confident and capable in and of themselves. A King would want followers like this to aid in the establishment of his kingdom.
Kingdom View: The weak
Not the strong, but the weak. Not those who are adequate in and of themselves, but those who know their own inadequacy.
II Corinthians 12: 9-10 “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, than I am strong.”
Those who know they are weak and turn to Christ for help, become a thousand times stronger than they could ever be on their own!
So, why does God choose the lowly over the “great,” the foolish over the “wise,” the weak over the “strong?”
I Corinthians 1:27-31 “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let Him who boasts boast in the Lord.’”
Why does He do it? So that through the accomplishments of the lowly, the foolish, and the weak, He might be glorified and His name might be praised!
So as Christians we should have an upside down and backwards way of thinking – or perhaps that is the backwards way of thinking… it the world who thinks upside down and backwardsly (did I just make that word up?) and the Kingdom view is the right side up and correct view because it is God’s view!
Good luck puzzling through that statement! :)
There are a lot of “upside down and backwards” things in the Bible, but I have to go we’ll have to look into them another time!
A Servant of the King
To the praise of His glory!
Oh, and a writing update! Song of Leira has reached the whopping length of 81,838 words! Hooray! It’s coming along well!