One of my favorite passages in Paul’s letters is the “plea for unity and humility” in the Letter to the Philippians.
As I was praying with it yesterday, the reality that so forcefully hit me (in a way it had not before) is that we are never justified in saying that something we are asked to do for the common good…for the sake of love of God and our brothers and sisters – not matter what it is – is beneath us
We are often obsessed with protecting our dignity. It is easy for us to think certain things we are asked to do are beneath us….are not befitting our particular station.
What stuck me so clearly as I sat with the words of the passage – reflecting on Jesus who “did not regard equality with God something to be grasped” but rather “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness” – is that there is absolutely nothing, no matter how beneath us it may seem, that compares to what Jesus did. Nothing can be so far beneath us so as to compare with Jesus’ humbling himself by taking on human form.
This passage is something of a reality check for our reactions. If there is some good reason for us to do a particular task or put ourself in a particular position – something that helps others, that promotes the common good – we can never use the excuse that it is beneath us. Jesus took that excuse off the table for good.