“It’s not about you.”
Ever heard of The Purpose Driven Life? This is is the first line of the book. Kind of a let down right?
It was written by Rick Warren in 2002 and sat on the New York Time’s Bestseller List for over 90 weeks! That’s nearly 2 years! That’s a lot of people seeking to find their purpose.
Ever heard of What On Earth Am I Here For? It’s an updated version of Purpose Driven Life released to culminate the 10th anniversary of Warren’s best seller.
The first line in the new book? “It’s not about you”. Seems things haven’t changed.
We have been enveloped with ads and quotes and books and commercials that keep our eyes on ourselves.
You need this phone so you can stay connected to the world.
You need this nutritional plan so you can stay focused on your health.
You need this car so you can impress your coworkers.
You need this line of credit so that you can purchase your dream boat.
You need …
“It’s not about you”
Why would Warren open with such a statement? Does it make you want to keep reading further? To be told that maybe we’re not all that important? That maybe our lives don’t really matter?
Isn’t there a small part of us that thinks “really?” If it’s not about me, then why am I even here? What’s my purpose? When is it going to be about me?
When someone hurts us we ask “what did I ever do to you?”
When a loved one passes away we ask “why is this happening to me?”
When we lose our job we say “what was the point of that?”
When someone else gets that promotion we ask “when is it my turn?”
I. Me. My.
” It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal…”
John 13 1-4a
This passage gets to me.
The scene here is that Jesus is at what we call “The Last Supper”.
Jesus knows that the hour was here for his death. The hour.
He knows that the devil has already spurred Judas to betray Him.
So, Jesus gets up from the meal…
I stopped the scripture here because I think we should pause and ask ourselves what we would be doing if we were in Jesus’ place.
Would we get up and make an emotional speech about how we were about to die?
Wouldn’t we want some sympathy or for people to know what a martyr we were about to be?
Wouldn’t we want to stand up and point at Judas and let everyone know that he was about betray us and so “ya’ll make sure he gets what’s coming to him!”
What does Jesus do here? Let’s pick up where we left off…
“4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
My goodness can you see it? Do you feel it?
I would be trembling too hard to tie anything around my waist and pour water into a basin and kneel down so calmly.
I would be nauseated with fear of what was coming.
I would be busting at the gut to tell everyone what was about to happen.
But if I did, all eyes would be on me. All compassion, sympathy and protectiveness would be centered on me. Feel sorry for me. Look at me.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
It’s not about me.
It’s not about you.
Everything Jesus did while he walked the earth was at the direction of his Father. He knew his Father had a good plan, that it had a purpose that would make an eternal impact on lives until the end of our time here and he knew that we would be better served if he pointed us all to his Father rather than to his own life.
Everything. All of it.
Jesus didn’t hold a mirror. He didn’t keep glancing at his problems and his frustrations and the unfairness that kept coming his way. He didn’t lean in to his own reflection (like I’ve done so many times) and question over and over again “why me?” or “what now”.
Jesus didn’t gather his friends around and ask for their pity. He didn’t manipulate others into constantly asking him if he was ok. He didn’t. It wasn’t about him.
It’s not about us…the question is, do we understand that we still have purpose? That there’s a reason we’re all here and breathing? That we are a part of God’s divine plan?
We have purpose. We are important. We are so loved by the Creator that He chose to demonstrate that to us through the sacrifice of His son. His beloved.
Let’s follow Jesus’ lead and serve others without the expectation of return service.
There was purpose in the life of Jesus.
There is purpose in the lives we lead.
I’ll say more about that next week. But for now…let’s just put the mirror down.
Reflect & Respond:
**Do you ever find yourself so focused on your own life that you almost nauseate yourself? I have. Examine your more recent thoughts and turn it around if necessary.
**Serve. Be intentional and do one thing every day to serve someone unselfishly. Let’s see if our problems start to shrink as we put that into practice.