Summary: What is success or greatness? Is it popularity – how well your name is known? Is it power – how many people you lead or command? Is it prestige – what you own, drive or where you live? We have to look no farther than the lifestyles of the rich and f

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Cornerstone Church January 8/9, 2011


John 13:1-17

Dr. Robertson McQuilkin was for many years the president of Columbia Bible College and Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina. In about 1980 Dr. McQuilkin began to see signs of memory loss in his wife, Muriel. For the next decade he watched as his wife’s career of conference speaking, radio shows, and television began to erode and disappear. In the mid-1980’s she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and her deterioration continued to advance rapidly.

This situation naturally posed a crisis for Dr. McQuilkin. As president of a thriving college and graduate school, how could he meet the needs of both his wife and his job? …He resigned from Columbia to care for his wife full time. ‘It was a choice between two loves,’ he writes. Columbia wisely and compassionately supported his decision and began seeking his replacement.

The striking thing about McQuilkin’s personal story is its theological underpinnings. For some, he was choosing a task at remarkable social and professional cost. He was throwing away his career. Not so. His decision was grounded in God’s love for him, experienced also through Muriel’s unselfish forty-two-year love for him. This made his service a joy.

‘It is more than keeping promises and being fair. As I watch her brave descent into oblivion, Muriel is the joy of my life. Daily I discern new manifestations of the kind of person she is, the wife I always loved. I also see fresh manifestations of God’s love – the God I long to love more fully.’”

Life Application Commentary on John quoting

“Living by Vows” now “A Promise Kept” by Dr. Robertson McQuilkin

What a compelling example of love in action!

True selfless servanthood!

Genuine love and devotion on display (for better or worse)

It seems almost surreal in our world today! The stuff of fiction and fantasy!

Our society produces shows like:


American Idol

America’s Next Top Model

The Apprentice

Where is the producer who is generating a shows like:

“Who Wants to Be a Servant?”

Being on top, the leader of the pack, numero uno, the big cheese, the head honcho, seems to be an important commodity these days!


Popularity: How well your name is known!

Power: How many people you lead or command!

Prestige: What you own, drive or where you live!

This spirit can even creep into the life of churches. Today one of the largest niches of books produced for Christian leaders isn’t commentaries and works on the Bible. It is books on leadership and church growth.

The truth is that being a servant takes more guts and fortitude than selfishly clawing your way to the top!

Biblically speaking, individuals like Dr. McQuilkin should be our role models and heroes!

* God isn’t impressed with how many people serve you in your occupation or ministry position.

* God is more impressed with how many people YOU serve!

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