September 11, 2013

God's Damaged Fruit

Matthew 20:20-28

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”
—Matthew 20:26


Dieter Zander was a high-profile preacher. Stunningly gifted with musical talent and speaking ability, he was a well-known, highly paid, sought-after Christian leader.

Now he works in the back room of a store that supplies damaged and “out of date” food to homeless shelters. He mops floors, unloads lopsided fruit, and crushes empty cardboard boxes for recycling. He wrote (Conversations Journal, “Kingdom of Cardboard and Spoils,” September 2012) that perfect fruit is for the supermarket, but lopsided apples and pears are still useful to the homeless.

Zander suffered a massive stroke in 2008, with the result that his life, according to him, is not the perfect, public, supermarket-display fruit it used to be. He says, “There is no Stage Dieter here. No superman seeking to wow the masses with feats of spiritual strength. It’s just me. Just Dieter.” He also says, “I come home from work and I think, 'It's good today.’”

Maybe, to be happier, we need to redefine what it means to serve God. We all want greatness. Jesus said, “No.”

What can you do today to show humility and servanthood? Who are you when you are “off-stage”? Have you idolized your own importance? Today, think about God in the small, unseen tasks of life. Glorify him, even in imperfection.

Lord, I often want power and greatness. I can be proud and rude. Forgive me. Humbly I come to offer myself to you. Receive me, I pray, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

About the author — Keith Mannes

Keith Mannes serves as pastor at Highland Christian Reformed Church in McBain, Michigan. Keith and his wife, Alicia, recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary,
and they are thankful for their three children—Eben, Charis, and Breanna.

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