I teach at a Language Institute in Gorlovka, Ukraine that has several buildings spread across the city. Recently I was at the main building to place an advertisement for a class I am teaching and I saw an interesting sign. It read - "Main building, main people!" It really got me to thinking.
The various departments of the Institute are highly competitive with one another, obviously to the point of absurdity. This is their "normal stance" - to compete with other faculties at the school. Yet once a year they change their focus and enter a national competition. During this time there is a strong sense of unity among the departments at the Institute because they want their Institute to be the best in the country. Intramural strife becomes inter-collegiate battle.
Curiously there does not seem to be a time in their calendar when they recognise that their struggle is not against other faculties at their Institute, or even with other Institutes and Universities in their country, but against the ignorance which education seeks to diminish. Perhaps "Main building, main people" is a slogan that simply perpetuates the ignorance and hands foolishness an easy victory. What would it look like to replace that sign with one that says "Preparing ourselves to join the fight against ignorance" or "Spreading knowledge and good will."
Too often Christians are like the students at my Institute. We fuss and fight with one another as if that is our divine calling. We are just like the early disciples who continually asked Jesus and each other, "Who is the greatest among us?" (Everyone already knew the answer to that question before they asked it, by the way). We congratulate ourselves on being like James and John, who saw a man driving out demons in Jesus' name and commanded him to stop - "Because he was not one of us!" (It is extremely ironic that this event occurred shortly after the disciples failed to drive out a demon!) Jesus had a consistent answer to these questions and actions - "Get over yourselves and start serving others."
Jesus the loving servant - now there is a pattern that is worth following.
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