I really appreciated Ray Blunt’s message to us on Sunday about vocation. He called us to consider the ladder we are climbing and the wall upon which it is leaning. Personally, I know that so much of angst and journal writing and late night worry comes from my fear about making it up the ladders I have built for myself. Climbing the ladders of greatness or significance are both familiar and unsatisfying. I appreciated the way that someone [Ray] who has had 70 good years [praying for about 30 more, my friend] and been to the top was able to say with integrity: ‘There is so much more. And you won’t find it up here. Don’t put the wrong ladder against the wrong wall.’
Instead, Ray offered to us the example of Jesus:
…who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
What would it be like to join Jesus on a ladder that went down? Instead of always trying to claw our way to the top, what would it be like to intentionally move down?
I was captivated by that question. It rolled around in my head for a good part of my run yesterday.
First, I realize that there are very few examples of this. I was trying to think– who has done this? And there were not many faces that popped in my head. Do you know any real people, fictional people, living people or dead people who have made choices to walk down the ladder?
Second, I realized I was not quite sure what ‘going down the ladder’ meant. 🙂 I can articulate what going up is like: more responsibility at work, a larger home, a better car, more exotic experiences, better schools for our kids, meeting the right person and getting married, getting an advanced degree, etc, etc… So do you know people who have said no to what seems like ‘everybody else is doing’ as they climb this ladder?
Third, I realized that just because Jesus did it, doesn’t mean I am motivated to do it. Let’s be honest. Most people don’t go down the ladder because life seems better at the top. So what would motivate us to get on a ‘down ladder’? I think Jesus came down because he wanted relationship with us. And I think the goodness that is waiting for us at the bottom of the down ladder is relationship as well. It is hard to invest in people when you are climbing those ladders. So maybe what God would have for you as come on down is friendship, time with family, even deeper intimacy with God Himself.
People, choices, and motivations. I’m curious if you have thoughts on any of those as we consider following Christ who did not find equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing.
Want to read more about vocation and God’s calling? Bill Haley had a nice piece in the Washington Post yesterday. Byron Borger is one of the best ‘book recommenders’ I have ever met. I love his blog. [Thanks Steve Garber for these suggestions…]