There are two qualifications you must have to be a mighty servant for God: first, you are not qualified; second, you agree with the first. By this standard, everyone has the first, and only some have the second. “He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly” (Luke 1:52).
I was so blessed to have the privilege to serve in prison ministry. There was one prison I served at where there was a large chapel that would seat around three hundred men. It was an old chapel built for a WW2 naval hospital base that was later converted into a prison.
When I would go to this church, all of the people in ministry would be upfront on the stage. Other honored ministry guests would be seated in the front row. After every service, all the ministry leaders and honored guests would stand up at the front and shake hands with all the inmates as they left.
The first few times I went to this church, the man whom I served with would tell me to go and sit in the back of the church. That is such an awful feeling to be seated somewhere higher and then to be asked to sit somewhere lower. After these few times, I would always just take the lowest place in the back.
It is better to sit down than to be sat down. Jesus taught, “…do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited …and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place” (Luke 14:8-9).
Nobody can put you down if you already are. You only fear being humbled if you are not already humble. “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor” (Proverbs 29:23).
The back of this church was a horrible place to sit. In the heat of summer, there was no air conditioning or fans for us who were crowded back there. There was no place to sit and the services were over two hours long. I would sit cross-legged on a hard table so I wouldn’t have to stand the whole time.
The higher life is found only after you first lower yourself. The Lord Jesus taught, “But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place…” (Luke 14:10).
The secret to gaining a greater role in the Kingdom is by taking a lesser role in the world. “And He [the Lord Jesus] sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all’” (Mark 9:35).
There was an open restroom in the back for the inmates, so for most of the service that was all I could hear. I didn’t like it back there one bit. At the end of the service I would just stay back there while everyone else in the ministry stayed up front and talked. When everyone was gone I would go home.
If you want a higher faith you must have a lower opinion of yourself. Jesus taught, “Remember this: everyone with a lofty opinion of who he is and who seeks to raise himself up will be humbled before all. And everyone with a modest opinion of who he is and chooses to humble himself will be raised up before all.” (Luke 14:11 TPT).
Friends, I am convinced that this was the preparation God was using to prepare me to serve Him rightly. I have seen the great power that pride has over those in ministry and am convinced it is the ruin of many. We live in a day when many promote themselves more than the Lord in whom they are serving.
You can only fall down as far as you have lifted yourself up. “For You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks” (Psalm 18:27).
To reach a higher calling, you must have a lower position before God. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10).
None of us want humility in its purest form, yet all of us need it more than we know. We like to think we take the lowest place, but even that is often done to gain the recognition of our humility that our pride is so thirsty for. Even in humility, we can be such prideful creatures. False humility is hidden pride.
So long as you think something is beneath you, your pride is a hindrance to the Lord. Jesus taught, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).
The higher your faith, the more bowed down you will be. “The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; the LORD raises those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous” (Psalm 146:8).
I have had the pride beat out me time and time again. I think we all need that, though few of us would pray for it. I was blessed by this man who sent me to the lowest place in the back of the church. He has no idea what gains it brought me to be humbled before men and set right with God. But God knows.
It’s hard to humiliate someone walking in humility. “Before being ruined, a person’s heart is proud; before being honored, a person must be humble.” (Proverbs 18:12 CJB).
Pride strives, humility yields, and your choice eternally matters. “thus says the Lord God: ‘…Nothing shall remain the same. Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted’” (Ezekiel 21:26).
I got to know some blessed servants in the back of this church. That is where the ushers would stand. It was an honor to stand there among them. I am so impressed by all the men and women who serve in positions of obscurity and humility. Their service will be honored in heaven.
What puts you in last place on earth will put you in first place in heaven. Jesus taught, “But many who push themselves to be first will find themselves last. And those who are willing to be last will find themselves to be first” (Matthew 19:30 TPT).
Blessings to you,
All Scripture is in red and uses the NKJV (New King James Version) translation unless otherwise noted.