At the beginning of Chapter 6 (“Jesus Was Not a Great Man”) of Who is This Man?, author John Ortberg cites the following observation by Georgetown University professor Francis Ambrosio regarding two ways to think about a meaningful life: (1) the way of the hero and (2) the way of the saint. The Greeks and Romans opted for Choice 1.
For the Greeks, the Olympics were much more than games; they were a religious ceremony, a microcosm of what determines life’s’ worth. This perspective led to a society where status most certainly was a fundamental principle. The Greeks and Romans lived in a world obsessed with status. Even today, the author quips, that obsession may not take too much effort to imagine! There was, however, trouble in Greek and Roman “paradise”- no matter what status category one was in, there always was another category that was higher. Even within the various Roman classes, each class had a series of honors people vied for- even the “nobodies” under the Roman elite.
When Paul started his letter to the Romans by describing himself not as a Roman citizen (although he was), but as a “servant (slave) of Christ”, he committed a major Roman social faux pas. Pastor Ortberg emphasizes that it was incomprehensible to others that Christ’s followers would say: “We serve a crucified slave named Jesus; we consider ourselves slaves to a slave.”
Today’s question: What conscious or subconscious status symbols did you lose as a result of your ministry downsizing or vocation loss? How might verbalizing this help you heal and revitalize God’s calling in your life? Pleas share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the new Short Meditation, “Perfect peace”, featuring Laura Story’s song with the same title