Today’s podcast is titled “The Great Leveler” – exploring the perspective of being better or worse than others based on Matthew chapter 23.
I’d like to share with you a few things I noticed while reading this chapter and specifically verses 1-12.
We must remember, when Jesus deals with people, he is always dealing with a heart condition. There seems to be a few key insights here that illumine the rest of this chapter’s denunciations, which are severe and worth reading if you haven’t already.
Let’s take a look.
Specifically I want to highlight verses 5-7. Here Jesus states, “5They do all their deeds to be seen by others….” 6and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.
We see here that these statements are meant to highlight a group of people living for position and prestige.
But that is only part of the story. Why are position and prestige so important to them? For that we need to spend just a minute unpacking the comparison game.
What was happening here was they were equating their role with their worth and when you do that you will do everything to maintain it. Who wants to feel worthless? This lie that in order for me to be of significance I have to be significant in the eyes of others is a game of competing and comparison. For you to be up, someone has to be down.
The comparison game gets us all though doesn’t it?
Take note, the comparison game flies in the face of contentment.
Many of us compete for recognition and position that we might secure a sense of accomplishment, worth and identity.
Here’s the problem, when you play the game of comparison, there are only two possible outcomes, and both are lies.
The first possible outcome is, I am better than others.
The second possible outcome is, I am worse than others.
Both of these perspectives detract from who you are supposed to be. Most people caught in this game of comparison do not know themselves because they are too busy trying to be someone else.
I like what Rick Warren once said, “On the last day, God is not going to ask you why you weren’t more like so and so. He is going to ask you, why weren’t you more like who I made you to be?”
Just to be clear, I am not saying there aren’t differences in roles and responsibilities, of a certainty there are. People will be put in positions of lesser or greater responsibility but these are not to be mistaken as positions of lesser or greater worth.
Your worth and my worth are the same. That value was determined by the cost God was willing to pay for each soul on this planet. It was not a different value for each person, but rather an equal worth for all.
Why am I spending so much time on this? Because, this is what is going on in the hearts of those Jesus denounces in the beginning of Mt. 23 and it is something we need to pay close attention to in our hearts as well.
Jesus strips his disciples of such a heart by commanding them not to seek after these positions or these recognitions. Instead Jesus states, 11The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Jesus is the great leveler. There is a truth that needs to penetrate your heart this day: we are all of equal value to God and uniquely called to different roles. Do not live to be someone other than who God made you to be and do not live for a position you were not meant to occupy. You are significant to God and your role, your personality and your giftings are significant to Him and that’s all that matters.
Today, you are most likely going to come up against a challenge to portray yourself as someone you are not or think of yourself as a failure because you haven’t measured up to someone else’s standards. Please, trust God in His divvying out of roles and responsibilities, embrace yours and build others up in theirs.
Forgive me God for not being, not embracing who you made me to be.
Thank you for the way you have made me. Please give me greater understanding on this. Also, will you give me insight into how you have made others also so that I might be a voice of encouragement in their lives.
In Jesus’ Name