The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. – Matthew 23:11-12
Epitaphs attempt to reduce somebody’s life to a sentence or two on a slab of stone. If you had the opportunity to create your own epitaph, how would it read? Which words would you use to describe your life? Perhaps you would choose some outstanding achievement for which you would like to be remembered. Maybe you would include some character quality you think is appealing to other people. The thought of creating your own epitaph is a bit morbid, isn’t it?
Let’s change the question a bit. What if you had the chance to create the epitaph for the empty tomb of Jesus Christ? If you had to reduce the Lord’s life down to a sentence or two, how would you describe Him? Perhaps you would choose “King of kings and Lord of lords, the Alpha and the Omega.” Maybe you would use a phrase from Colossians 1:16 “AII things have been created through Him and for Him.”
Certainly, each of those phrases denotes something of the majesty of the Second Person of the Godhead. But those words were written by somebody other than Jesus. I have a sneaking suspicion that if Jesus were to describe Himself, He would use words similar to those in Mark 10:45, in which He said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus says that above all, the thing He wants to be remembered for is not His majesty, and it is not His glory. He wants ro be remembered as the One who came not to be served but to serve other people.
When we cut through all the peripheral issues of Christianity, what is it that God really wants for us? He wants our lives to resemble Jesus Christ in our thoughts, our attitudes, our affections, and our actions. And we are never more like Jesus Christ than when we put the interests of other people above our own interests when we learn to serve others.