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Posted: August 9, 2012 7:54 p.m.

Dees: Work your way down the ladder

The idea of working your way up is something that pervades all people and especially Americans. It is very natural for us to desire power, security, fame and ease of life. This is true especially among men. Even as little boys, guys start sizing each other up as soon as they hit the playground. They want to win. They want to be in control. They want to be successful. This is something that stays with men throughout life. I definitely see these desires very clearly in my own life, but the more I study the gospel, the more it becomes clear to me that the value system of man and the value system of God are two entirely different things.

Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 19 that in his Kingdom, "Many who are first (in this world) will be last, and many who are last will be first." He goes on to say that whoever would be great must serve, and whoever would be first must be a slave. John the Baptist said of his own life in John 3, "I must decrease."

The gospels make it very clear that the things that man sees as great and what God sees as great are not the same. Instead of wealth and control being the standard of success, God desires humility and sacrifice. It is as if Jesus is asking us to go the other way on the ladder of life. Instead of working our way up, he asks us to work down. Instead of ruling over people he asks us to serve, instead of receiving he asks us to give, and instead of being safe, he asks us to step out in faith. This is a reversal of value, but this is the gospel.

Which value system do you live by? The value system of God, or the value system of man? I guess the better question is, where is your hope in life? Are you hoping in yourself, in what seems right to you? Or are you hoping in the almighty God of the universe and living for his glory and as he has called us to live?

In order to find the hope and joy so many desire yet so few find, I encourage you to start climbing down the ladder, to start looking at others as more valuable than yourself in humility, and follow the example of Jesus by working yourself lower rather than higher. Remember in his kingdom, the first will be last, but the last will be first.


Jason Dees is a grateful follower of Jesus Christ, the husband of Paige and the father of Emery Anna. He is also the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington.


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