Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
I came across this several years ago and found it again while doing some research. It is called One Solitary Life and was taken from a sermon by Dr. James Allen Francis in 1926.
He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty
He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself
He was only thirty three
His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth
When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend
Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind's progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life
Definitely a different way to look at Jesus. When we think about people that have impacted the world I think it is safe to say this is not usually what we look for in what they did or didn’t do. In today’s society we look too much toward athletes, movie stars, musicians and the like but one has to ask, do they really make that much of an impact? Yes, they are popular for a time due to their accomplishments in their field, but it doesn’t last.
Don’t believe me? Without looking on the internet, list the top five most popular athletes, movie stars, and musicians from 10 years ago. How many can you come up with? Most of us might be able to come up with a couple. Those that are big fans in a particular area might be able to come up with more, but not by much. Too easy? How about 20 years ago? 30? Gets harder the further back you go doesn’t it?
True, some of these people have used their influence in a positive way to help with various charities and other organizations but I think most would agree it is not the majority. Even with those that do, most of that influence gets diluted or even completely washed away by time. Ultimately very few have a very far reaching effect on people’s lives, much less the world.
Why does Jesus have influence today, almost 2,000 years after He walked the Earth? I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that some of this influence is definitely because of who He is, the Son of God. But I think it is much more than that.
Jesus taught us how to love one another and how to serve each other. He demonstrated obedience to God’s will in His life and, through His death, fulfilled His purpose for coming to dwell with us. Jesus showed us there is a better way to live our lives. He also showed us we could have a relationship with Him. And He did this not by just telling us how to do it, Jesus lived it. Everywhere He went, in everything He did.
Jesus has had more impact on mankind for good than any other person. Jesus changes lives because it is not just about serving God and those around us, it is about relationships that make us better people.
Jesus lived servant leadership and we are called to following His footsteps. Allow Jesus to come in and change your life. Live the life you were meant to live and have an impact.