Cliches are often the basis for truth statements. The obvious is usually true. Knowing something in one's head is not the same as believing the same with the heart. Thinking about a possible action is miles away from actually doing something for someone. Real “strength is for service, not status.” (Romans 15.1)
I often find myself caught in the paradox of winning at all cost and the truth statements I hold close to my heart. The tension between them is not always obvious. Competing for ideas, principles, and winning the challenge is part of every decision in the day. When you link earnings, survival, and getting ahead to the competition the intensity rises with our increased engagement and focus. Obviously everything is in harmony, or is it?
Are the personal values that we treasure consistent with the way we live our life? Do we understand why we push ourselves to grow? Do our actions reflect our purpose?
I can hear the response that service is not, for most of us, our vocation and mission. We are somehow greater than that. Perhaps, however, how do you define strength? If not service, then what? Overwhelming people by your whit and intellect? Dominating people with physical force? Ranting and raving until people give in to your view? Real power and status is a gift, not the results of a power move on our part.
Strength comes from helping others achieve. Strength occurs when others benefit from being with you. Strength is a result of living out unselfish actions in the daily lives of the people we meet and work with. When we benefit those around us the recognition that we grave will automatically come, and not because we deserve it. Strength comes from making a difference in the lives of people around us.
Knowing these facts will not change anything. Understanding in our heart, following the Spirit's lead and living a life driven by service changes everything. For each of us, it is a choice, and we can only make the decision for our self. What is yours today?