I drive a 2007 Toyota Highlander. It is a mid-sized, base model SUV.
When I say "base model" what I mean is cloth seats, smaller engine with less power, factory rims, and a standard dashboard. Base models have no bells or whistles.
Unlike our other car that is a bit nicer, this one is very normal and common.
Not so long ago as I was leaving REI, a really cool sticker caught my eye and decided to buy it. I imagined this REI sticker fashionably placed on the corner of the Highlander’s rear glass.
I got a little too excited to dress up my cloudy-day gray Toyota with a $2 sticker.
When I got to my car, I went straight to the back of it, lined up the sticker, and pressed it in place. Beautiful, I thought as I took a step back then around to enter the car.
Just before grabbing the door handle I pushed the unlock button on my key chain but something wasn't right. It didn't unlock.
I hit the button again and heard the car respond with a beep-beep but it sounded faint.
All of a sudden it dawned on me that this was not my car. The beep-beep was faint because my car was three spaces down from this one.
That’s right, friends. I put the sticker on the wrong car.
I slapped my $2 REI sticker (in the shape of NC) on someone else’s 2007 gray, base model Toyota Highlander.
Looking around like a thief, I began the 5 minute process of peeling the sticker off the back of John Doe’s back window.
Since no one (hopefully) saw this, I sauntered back into REI and bought myself another sticker.
Here’s a verse that has always lingered next to that funny memory.
“And the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no person may boast before God.” 1 Cor. 1:28-29
The Greek word base literally means lowly. The word constructed as the opposite of anything noble or esteemed.
It means not a special edition, no extra horse power and no sunroof.
And yet God calls the base, lowly or despised to Himself and invites them do his most important work.
The kingdom Jesus proclaimed has always been upside down.
His way is reverse from the kingdom of this world. In His Presence, the weak are made strong, the lowly are esteemed, the poor in spirit are rich, and the hungry are deeply satisfied. With Christ the foolish will be wise, the loss will become gain, and the dead will come alive.
Yet the world we live in says be incredible, seek the grandiose. Honestly, I struggle with entertaining grandiose thoughts.
Perhaps the disciples struggled with this too as they argued over who might be the greatest, the most noble in Christ’s kingdom. Jesus pivots from their argument by washing their feet, becoming a servant who ultimately gave his life for them.
As we move toward Easter I cannot help but wonder how I might shed grandiose thoughts.
It’s a tricky process because often we want to move toward goals and do things with excellence. But if we are moving toward such things without Christ, then our kingdom is what comes.
Eugene Peterson insisted that “for Christ’s Kingdom to come, our kingdom must go!”
As time opens up to us this holiday, may we consider our calling (1 Cor. 1:26). Here are a few reflective questions I hope to prayerfully ask this weekend:
What grandiose thoughts might Christ want to peel away from my daily thoughts?
What freedoms come with having a humility of mind?
How might Christ in us be a unique expression through us this resurrection week?
I hope Easter is a sweet, restful, and redemptive time for you.
Love to you,