Jesus “made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant” (Phil.2:7). “Let’s build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let’s make a name for ourselves” (Gen.11:4). “Diotrephes, who loves to be first…” (3Jn.1:9) “Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you (Jesus) more than anything on earth.” (Ps. 73:25)


Dear Jesus, during the past couple of weeks, a particular phrase from my spiritual dad, Jack Miller, keeps coming to mind. “A reputation is too heavy of a load for a child of God to carry.” Thinking too much about what others think of us will crush us. Tying our sense of well-being to the high-regard of others will seduce, then destroy us. Loving to be first, like Diotrephes, might get our name in the Bible, but as a warning, not as a blessing.

As several wonderful Gospel-leaders have recently gone to heaven—(where Jack was probably one of the first to greet them), I’m more mindful of my own brevity, weaknesses, and your claim on my remaining years. Jesus, I’m more grateful than ever for leaders and friends who love the Gospel, grow in grace, and lead as “first-pray-ers” and chief-repenters. Thank you for those who don’t “puff” themselves up, but “puff” themselves down. Make me more like them.

“Platforms” are for high-divers. “Brands” are for cereals. But a towel and a basin are for leaders who know, love, and follow you. Jesus, if you give me 10 more years or 10 more months, keep stunning my heart with your truth, goodness, and beauty. I want to love you more than anything in heaven or on earth. Everything else will take care of itself. So Very Amen.