The other day I saw an interesting cartoon in a national newspaper: the picture was of a newsreader saying: “The universe said it felt insignificant after seeing Jeff Bezos”. It related to the story of Jeff Bezos, currently the world’s richest man, who had just successfully completed a trip to the edge of space in his spacecraft. In worldly terms it was quite an achievement. The race to space seems to herald the latest challenge for some of the world’s richest entrepreneurs.
It made me ponder what it would be like to be Jeff Bezos and ask myself would I want to be like Jeff Bezos? Then, as the cartoon oh-so-cleverly put the achievement into perspective, it made me consider a comparison between Mr Bezos and the one whom the apostle Paul encourages us to seek to be more like: Jesus Christ.
I wonder how many, on the face of it, would be interested in being more like Mr. Bezos, with his immense fortune and opportunities to undertake such exciting ventures, than being like Jesus in his worldly poverty and untimely death. So why would Paul suggest we should seek to have the same attitude as Jesus? I think the irony of the cartoon might actually give us a few clues.
Mr Bezos and his team successfully flew into space and enjoyed a brief period of weightlessness. Jesus was there at the very beginning of space itself. (It always awes me that, almost as a ‘throw away’ statement, Genesis 1:16 says: “He also made the stars.”)
Mr Bezos’s company has enabled him to become the world’s richest man. It is named after the Amazon forest, which is probably the world’s most important means of regulating the entire earth’s climate. Yet it was Jesus who spoke the Amazon rainforest into existence.
Mr Bezos has accumulated a vast net worth but, ultimately, when he passes away, how much of that will he be able to take with him? Whereas Jesus has now been exalted to the highest place and at his name every knee will ultimately bow.
The contrasts are numerous, but Paul doesn’t call us to imitate any earthly entrepreneur, no matter how wealthy, but rather tells us to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus: ‘Who, being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant’ (Philippians 2:5-11).
Prayer: Dear Lord, however enticing earthly wealth and power may appear, help me to keep an eternal perspective rather than a this-worldly one. Please help me focus my attention on becoming more like Jesus. By Your Spirit, may I be transformed into His likeness, little by little, day by day, starting right now. Amen.
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