Summary: Maybe our problem is that our egos have been inflated by the position that we hold that we have become not servants but members of a serve-me-please pharisaical class of clergy.
After a minister had preached a searching sermon on pride, a woman who had heard the sermon waited upon him and told him that she was in much distress of mind, and that she would like to confess to a great sin. The minister asked her what the sin was.
She answered, “The sin of pride, for I sat for an hour before my mirror some days ago admiring my beauty.”
“Oh,” responded the minister, “that was not a sin of pride-that was a sin of imagination!” —C.E. Macartney
Our passage begins with a description of what was on Christ’s mind just before He washed the disciple’s feet. It says, “. . . when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world. . . .” While going to the cross was foremost in His mind he took the time to serve others. Our tendency is when we have troubles to dwell upon them. We become so preoccupied with them we forget there is a world full of problems and others need our help.
John 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
Serving takes Our Minds Off Ourselves
Years ago, Dr. Karl Menninger of the Menninger Clinic was asked, “If someone felt a nervous breakdown coming on, what would you suggest that he do?”
“If you feel a nervous breakdown coming on, I would urge you to find somebody else with a problem—a serious one—and get involved with that individual, helping him solve his problem.” In helping him to solve his problem, then in reality your own problem is going to disappear. You’re no longer thinking internally. You’re no longer letting things gnaw at your stomach. You’re no longer getting disturbed about yourself because you’re not thinking about yourself.
You’re thinking about others. I don’t know what your objective in life might be, but there is something each one of us can do.
We must make up our minds by the grace of God that we are going to live for others.
Innsbruck—In 1964, Italy’s Eugenio Monti and Sergio Siorpaes were heavily favored in the two-man bobsled event. But as they awaited their second run, the lightly regarded British team of Tony Nash and Robin Dixon was in a state of despair. After a sensational first run, their sled had broken an axle bolt, and it seemed certain they would have to drop out.
Monti, his second run already completed, acted swiftly. He stripped the bolt from his own sled and offered it to Nash. In one of the greatest upsets in the history of the Olympics, the British team went on to win the gold medal, while the sportsmanlike Monti finished third.
Four years later, Monti drove both his two-and four-man sleds to Olympic victory.
—Bud Greenspan in Parade
Seoul—Sailing competitions were under way at Pusan on September 24, 1988, with winds raging at 35 knots and playing havoc with the boats. Two sailors of the Singapore team, Joseph Chan and Shaw Her, were thrown overboard when their boat capsized.
Canada’s Lawrence Lemieux was sailing alone nearby in a separate event when he saw the sailors in distress. He rescued Chan, who was exhausted from struggling against the strong currents in his weighted sailing jacket. By the time Lemieux finished helping the Singapore team, he had fallen well behind in his race.
Judges awarded Lemieux second place—the position he was in when he went to the sailors’ aid—and the International Olympic Committee gave him a special award for his gallantry.
“It’s the first rule of sailing to help people in distress,” said Lemieux, downplaying the incident.
—Bud Greenspan in Parade
Berlin—Jesse Owens seemed sure to win the long jump at the 1938 games. The year before he had jumped 26 feet, 8¼ inches—a record that would stand for 25 years. As he walked to the long-jump pit, however, Owens saw a tall, blue-eyed, blond German taking practice jumps in the 26-foot range. Owens felt nervous. He was acutely aware of the Nazis’ desire to prove “Aryan superiority,” especially over blacks.
On his first jump Owens inadvertently leaped from several inches beyond the takeoff board. Rattled, he fouled in his second attempt too. He was one foul away from being eliminated.
At this point, the tall German introduced himself as Luz Long. “You should be able to qualify with your eyes closed!’ he said to Owens, referring to his two jumps.
For the next few moments the black son of a sharecropper and the white model of Nazi manhood chatted. Then Long made a suggestion. Since the qualifying distance was only 23 feet, 5½ inches, why not make a mark several inches before the takeoff board and jump from there, just to play it safe? Owens did and qualified easily.