Getting Ahead

Jonty King | 17 May 2017

Have you ever wondered whether you are doing enough to make your life a success? I have.

I am in my mid-30’s and have been employed for churches for fifteen years now. I am still doing the same kind of work I was doing when I started fifteen years ago. Although I do have a higher position and greater levels of oversight, I often see others around me who have been involved for less time receive greater recognition and opportunities.

And even though I love what I do, deep down a part of me wonders if I have failed.

Maybe you feel the same pull--to make something of yourself, to get ahead. It comes in the form of subtle voices that tell you that unless you receive recognition, your life, while not meaningless, will mean less.

Maybe in your dark moments you’ve had thoughts such as these:

“What will my legacy be?”

“I can’t go any higher in my work, so I need to find a new position.”

“Why would my kids be proud of me, when I just do this?”

“I need to be more ambitious about climbing the ladder – getting to the top.”

“When I look at what others have done and what they have, I feel like I am way behind.”

We need to recognise that underneath these voices is a “you’ve-only-got-a-few-years-to-get-what-you-can” culture that runs completely contrary to the gospel. It is a completely earth-bound mindset devoted to building up status in this life and in the eyes of people.

Jesus spoke very directly about this:

Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the ones who are considered the rulers by the Gentiles show off their authority over them and their high-ranking officials order them around. But that’s not the way it will be with you. Whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant. Whoever wants to be first among you will be the slave of all, for the Human One didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people.”
Mark 10:42-45 (CEB)

Now please don’t mishear Jesus. You do not need to find the most lowly and humiliating job to be a true Christian. In fact what Jesus is saying is that the world desperately needs followers of Jesus in positions of power and influence; we need Christian employers, politicians and CEO's. However these people will not be motivated simply by their own ambition, but because of the difference they can make to people, systems and structures.

The Gospel calls us to be people who serve the world, not those who serve our own ego. Therefore in whatever we do may we always seek the good of others - even if they never know our name.

That’s the kind of legacy that will last.

The Gospel calls us to be people who serve the world.
-Jonty King