One of the most popular reality television shows of the 2010s was a show called “Undercover Bosses.” Maybe you’re familiar with it, the concept was this: bosses would go undercover and take on the job of entry-level employees to see what they do and learn more about what happened day-to-day at their company. It was a chance for the boss to build relationships with employees that they probably would never come into contact with otherwise. It would oftentimes illustrate just how hard people would work in their jobs and how capable they were, despite the fact that they weren’t rich and powerful or have any authority.

As Paul would remind all of us in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” As followers of Jesus, Jesus rules over our relationships and in our relationships we are called to demonstrate selflessness and humility, looking to the interests of others above our own. Paul would have been writing to a church made up of slaves, slave owners, rich, poor, and everything in between. The commandment is clear. Value others above yourselves.

In “Undercover Bosses,” no one condemns ambition. Ambition can be a good thing! Scripture doesn’t condemn ambition. But ambition that steps on people to get to the top? The ambition that is to increase our stature or ego? Well, Scripture cannot applaud this type of ambition. As we’re reminded in the life of Jesus, the greatest among you will become your servant. As Jesus rules over our relationships, what does that look like? It looks like lifting others up. Putting others first. Doing nothing out of selfish ambition, but pushing others up and celebrating their greatest victories as we would celebrate our own. Have you celebrated anyone else recently? Make a habit of rejoicing with those who rejoice, putting others first, and see if it doesn’t transform your mindset and thought patterns. As the bosses learned through experiencing the everyday lives of their fellow man, we learn through sharing others’ experiences to celebrate the good, mourn the bad, and work towards becoming more of who Jesus has called us to be each day.

Seth Redden
High School Pastor

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