It makes total sense that Pat's first Sunday back, he'd climb a ladder, stick a crown on his head, and leave us all fearing for his life just a little as he teeters ten feet above us all while preaching! And it's things like this that help statements like, "The way up is down," really stick in our hearts and minds. The message, out of John 13 once again, was clearly communicated that Christ came as a servant. That He, God of the universe, humbled Himself to the point of washing feet, and that we too should take that posture. That we should stop trying so hard to climb the ladder and exhibit loving humility and serve like Jesus. That the way up... really is down. But there's one subtle nuance to this thing that makes a huge, HUGE difference. It's a sneaky little detail that, if we don't make sure we have in check, can sabotage the entire idea.
We're a society that's obsessed with formulas and success. Whenever a company, an individual, or even a church seems to skyrocket quickly, we all flock to them to learn their secret sauce so we can emulate it and experience the same results. We think "if that's what it takes to be successful, then I'll give it a try." And if we aren't careful, we can treat this "up is down" concept as yet another secret formula. It's so easy to say "Well I want to go up, so if going down is what will eventually lead to me going UP, then I'll give it a try!" See what we've just done there? We've taken this concept of humility and flipped it into yet another formula for success... and the irony is that isn't really humility at all! It's a mindset that says the incentive for going down is that it then leads to up. But that's not what Pat was saying, and that's not what Christ meant either. The real incentive for going down is not later success, the incentive is simply Jesus. The incentive is taking on His character, His love, His posture as a servant, His going DOWN. The incentive is literally that we look and act more like Jesus.
The devil is [literally] in the details. So let's be sure that our motivations are Spirit-filled, that our service... our going down... really is "Serving Like Jesus."