Yep, it’s still winter. 🙂 More snow overnight meant there was both inside and outside work that needed done to start the day. As I cleaned the inside of the building a couple deer walked by in the darkness along the back side of the building. I love seeing them come by even when it is too dark to take pictures. As the morning progressed, I finished some office work and then Susan and I went to pick up some maintenance and janitorial supplies. When we got back, the sun had finally come out and the cardinals and squirrels were playing in the nearby trees. As the cardinals claimed the berries on the underbrush, two squirrels made their way to the very tops of the nearby trees to enjoy the view and a snack.
As I observed the squirrels, I began to think about our culture’s obsession with climbing to the top of whatever ladder of success we can imagine. For many, there seems to be little concern for how many people they trample and climb over as long as they reach the top first and all alone. We grab as much of the “stuff” of life that we can carry and off we go to prove to everyone around us that we are “king, or queen, of the hill”. Somehow we begin to believe that reaching the top all alone will bring us great joy and satisfaction. We “squirrel away” all of the possessions that we can accumulate and try to use them to show others that we have succeeded at something. While that may get us recognition in the society we are a part of, and unfortunately even within many ministry settings, such an attitude can take us on a path away from God that is so deceptive we don’t realize we’ve even strayed until we find our self a great distance away.
God says our path to real success is through humbling ourselves and becoming servant to all. While the view from the top may be alluring and seem to be the greatest of prizes, from an eternal perspective the glory we gain is short-lived at best. My squirrel friend looked happy for a moment, but as soon as his food was gone he was back down to the ground and scrounging around for the next bit of food that must have been hidden somewhere. It gets lonely at the top because we were never meant to be the top.
I pray that you and I would learn contentment in serving people in the name of Jesus. I pray that we would find joy in serving the One who is most worthy of praise and has a name higher than any other. I pray that when we allow Jesus to lift us from the depths of sin that our gratitude would fill us with a desire to trust Him with our complete obedience.