I am going to give this talk to the Carver football team this afternoon and will ask them this simple question, “What kind of man do you want to be?”
What does that question have to do with this picture?
Which orange is bigger? If the orange circle was a man and you had the choice, which man would you want to become? The (orange) man on the right? Or the one on the left?
Let’s see what Jesus had to say about this question…
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one other than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:1-4
They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:33-35
“…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.” Matthew 20:26-28
And the story of the rich man in Matthew 19 who comes to Jesus to ask what it takes to have eternal life. Jesus told him to go sell all his possessions and give to the poor. The young man went away sad because he knew he would not give up his treasure. At the end of this passage, Jesus said, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
So we see Jesus telling us to lay down our lives, our plans, our needs for the benefit of our friends. We are called to be humble like a child. We are told that if we strive to be “first” in this life, we’ll end up last. However, if serve others, place others ahead of self and strive to be “last” in the world’s terms, we’ll be first in God’s eyes.
We are called to Servant Leadership.
Back to the circles – The one on the right is a picture of the world, “Life’s about me, what I can get, what I want, what I can do, my accolades, my notoriety, my fame…” and the effect of this life is that those around us shrink. By elevating ourselves and seeking to advance no matter the cost, others around us will pay the price.
This shows up in football. It shows up in how we treat women. It shows up in how we respond to our coaches/teachers. It shows up in how a Senior football player treats a freshman. It shows up all across our lives.
The picture on the left is a picture of the kingdom of heaven – we put others ahead of ourselves. We celebrate their successes, their work, their achievements. We work to clear the path so they can run for the touchdown. Team first. Synergies. 1+1=3. And you see the impact of this…those around us grow and flourish like lush crops in rich soil.
So I ask you, what kind of man do you want to be?
Here’s the clincher…the two orange circles are exactly the same size! Same man. One choice. What kind of man to do you want to be?