My small group has been studying the book of Philippians and our most recent lesson focused in on Chapter 2 Verses 1-11. Throughout this passage, Paul encouraged the Philippians to be more like Jesus.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Philippians 2:3-5 NLT
It’s not easy, is it? I think, as humans, we’re selfish by default. I can’t speak for you, but I tend to remember when someone puts my needs ahead of their own. Humility doesn’t come easily either. We’re a prideful bunch! Jesus did it all perfectly while He walked this earth, because He was God. He would later make the ultimate sacrifice and die a criminal’s death on a cross.
But death did not have the last word—
“God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11 NLT
If I had to sum up (and I like to do that) the whole point of the lesson it would be that sacrifice comes before glory. It was true for Jesus—He was the ultimate example. It is also true for those who put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
I love when I can connect the dots. While we were driving home from my husband’s grandmother’s funeral last week it struck me that, other than Jesus Himself, she has to rank right up there as one of the best examples I could ever have of what sacrifice before glory looks like. By the time I met her nearly 30 years ago, Gram had already been firmly entrenched in modeling sacrifice daily as the primary caregiver for her disabled husband. That continued until his death in 1993 and she did it all with a smile. She was a lady of great faith and loved her family with all she had. It almost seems like we lost her twice because Alzheimer’s robbed her of her memory several years ago, and now we’ve lost her physical presence too. Lost isn’t a good choice of words though, is it? No—she’s not lost at all. We know exactly where she is. She’s with Jesus.
First, the sacrifice, then the glory! I can’t think of anyone more deserving of that glory.
In loving memory of Freda “Little Gram” Leipold
October 21, 1924 – December 26, 2016