Disadvantaging Ourselves for Others
In 2 Corinthians 8:9, Jesus says the following through Paul: “Remember my grace, the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ, that though I was rich, for your sake I became poor so that you, through my poverty, might become rich.” In essence, Jesus disadvantaged himself for our sake. An expanded version of the Bible passage below is included here followed by a response. We pray that as you listen to Jesus, this passage will take on significantly greater depth for you. Perhaps your response to Jesus’ words will be similar to the concluding response. You may also want to write your own response. Enjoy!
“My name is Jesus, ‘the Lord saves,’ (Matthew 1:21). Father and Spirit sent me to save you. This is why I was sent into the world (John 3:17). Only I could accomplish it as both man and God (John 1:1-2, 14). I was happy to do it for your sake (John 10:14-15, 17). I am also Lord—the Old Testament name for God (Exodus 3:14-15). I am God, the Lord of lords and the King of kings (Revelation 19:16; 2 Timothy 6:15-16). I, the Son, am the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For (by) Me, all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through me and for me. I am before all things, and in (by) me all things hold together (Colossians 1:15-17). I am Messiah (Christ), the anointed one, the prophesied king from the line of David fulfilling God’s promises (Luke 1:32-33; Matthew 16:16-17).”
“So, remember my grace, the measureless, undeserved love, kindness and favor I lavished on you. Although I was rich, having every advantage, privilege, opportunity, possessions, honor, and blessings that was due my position as King of Kings, Creator, and God the Son, for your sake, for your good, your advantage, your opportunity and blessing, I became poor. I disadvantaged myself, surrendered everything, gave it all up, and left it behind, denying myself, and taking the form of a servant, your servant. I did this so that through my poverty you might become rich—rich with hope, a future, and blessings present and eternal; rich with eternal life, forgiveness and grace for others.”
“Therefore ___________, like me, because I did it for you first, disadvantage yourself for the sake of another’s advantage and opportunity. Surrender your position of privilege and entitlement and become the servant of others, spending your time, energy, and resources on them. Excel in this grace of giving. Increasingly look to see how you might use less of what is yours on yourself so that others might have more, affording them opportunities and advantages that they never dreamed possible. Do not please yourself, but please others for their good, to build them up even as I did (Romans 15:2-3). Offer yourself as a living and holy sacrifice for this pleases me. What’s more, it’s the only worship that makes sense now, worship that is true and proper given what I did for you first (Romans 12:1).”
“Lord Jesus, I am amazed at what you gave up and how you lived among us, joyfully serving and having nothing. It’s really the story of the ‘Prince and the Pauper.’ We didn’t recognize you because you looked just like us and lived just like us only without sin. You lived among us and fully experienced our suffering. But never once did you bring attention to your suffering, but rather suffered quietly and humbly, always for our sake.”
“Lord, you changed your position. You changed your status. You changed your conditions. You changed everything familiar to you. You traded places with me. But you did not change yourself. In fact, it was because of who you are, your goodness, kindness, compassion, incomprehensible love that you changed everything for my sake. O Lord, how far my heart is from being truly like yours. Please work in me more deeply.”
(From Jesus himself): “For those of you who do not renounce [give up, forsake] all that you have [even as I did for you] you cannot be my disciples” (Luke 14:33, personalized).