Measuring up
pouring out


Saturday Reflection


27th February 2021

...which of them...

7a '..but [Jesus] emptied himself,
   by taking the form of a servant...'

.....Philippians 2:7a

An argument started
among the disciples as to
which of them
would be the greatest.
Luke 9:36

There they were,
walking with Jesus who had just
predicted his death,
and the disciples could think of
nothing better to do than
squabble amongst themselves
like children in the playground.

It brings back memories of my time
as a teacher (a long time ago).
I can imagine it,
the disciples elbowing past each other,
vying for the 'greatest disciple'
position and making it obvious
that they crave an answer to
'How do I measure up?'

The problem is,
I often find myself asking
the same question,
'How do I measure up?'
I think we all play the
comparison game from time to time;
but it distracts us from our
roll in life and divides us
from others.

Do we obsess over measuring
ourselves against those we know?
When we do,
do we tend to want to pull away,
shrinking back,
not wanting our flaws to be seen,
or do we distance ourselves,
not wanting to be outdone?
Both ways, the enemy wins.

Instead of answering the
disciple's question,
Jesus repeatedly offers them
a better one:
'How can I empty myself and serve?'

Jesus wanted the disciples to know
that there is a kingdom where
'measuring up' isn't what
makes you great;
emptying yourself in humility
and putting others first does.

If there were a measuring cup
filled with all our gifts,
potentials and resources,
we would be tempted to look
at the lines and compare
our cup with someone else's.

But Jesus would point to the spout
and invite us to invest what's
inside our cup to serve others,
pouring ourselves out -
as he did.

If Jesus had a measuring cup,
it would be larger than the universe
and brimming full.
He is beyond compare,
yet he didn't concern himself
with proving it.
he made himself nothing by taking
the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in
  appearance as a man,
  he humbled himself by
  becoming obedient to death -
  even death on a cross!

.....Philippians 2:7-8

For our sakes,
Jesus took his measuring cup
and turned it upside down.
With the most extravagant humility
in the world has ever known, he

'...poured out his soul to death...'

.....Isaiah 53:12

and because he did so,
God lifted him up and gave him

'the name
that is above every name'.

.....Philippians 2:9b.

When we pursue greatness
in the kingdom,
we escape the measure-up
mindset of the world.

'How do I measure up?"
is the wrong question.
Jesus taught us a better one -
one that leads to value in Jesus,
'How can I serve others?'

When we enter a room
full of people and ask,
'How can I pour myself out?'
our attention naturally turns
to the spout, not the lines.

Our measuring cup's contents
take on a new purpose if we're
looking for ways to serve,
and keeping our distance makes
no sense if we're getting
ready to pour.

But here's the best part;
when we tip our cup to one side,
the lines become irrelevant.
They don't matter anymore;
and this sets us free;
free to do the work that
Jesus calls us to do.

It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
sung by Mkariobangi
(with lyrics)'
via the link shown below.