Staff Corner – Greg Spires – Teaching Pastor
Getting To The Top
George Bodenheimer’s career at ESPN took him from the very bottom of the company to the top spot. In 1981 he took a job in the mailroom at ESPN. Over the next 17 years, he proved his capabilities and talent to those he worked with. In 1998 he was named President of ESPN.
Bodenheimer was ESPN’s longest-tenured president. Before his retirement, he was promoted even further by serving as Executive Chairman and Interim Chairman in 2018.
We love stories like Bodenheimer’s. Many are inspired by the idea that anything is possible with hard work and just a bit of luck.
But there are other ways to the top. Rob Walton was made Chairman of the Wal-Mart company in 1992, two days after the passing of the founder of Wal-Mart, his father, Sam Walton. While Walton received an education well suited for his role to lead the world’s largest retailer, he didn’t start in the mailroom. His first role at the company was as Senior Vice President.
Whether it is a fair assessment or not, most people assume Walton’s primary qualification was not proving his capabilities and talent; instead, his primary qualification is assumed to be the name “Walton.”
While hard work and dedication are important character qualities (even Biblical!), we need to recognize that there is no way to work from the bottom to the top in the Kingdom of God. Our place of standing in God’s Kingdom is more like Rob Walton: it is inherited.
Romans 10:12 says, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
Getting saved by faith in Jesus doesn’t merely put us in the mailroom of the kingdom where we have to work our way up to a more prominent position. The passage here says that He bestows “his riches” on all who call on Him. Getting saved makes us members of the family of God, heirs to the kingdom of God.
We discover the immensity of our inheritance in the first chapter of Ephesians. Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” Just a few verses later, it reads, “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:11-12).
Why is this important to us as followers of Jesus? Because there is tremendous appeal in thinking we have earned our place. We love the idea that we have worked hard, been responsible, made good decisions, displayed dedication, and as a result, we have prominence in God’s Kingdom. However, prominence in the Kingdom of God is what Jesus gives us, not what we earn.
There is no ranking system among God’s people. There is no way to gain more prestige than Jesus has already given. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that the job of the believer in God’s Kingdom is not to try and work up to the top; instead, the job is to work down to the bottom (Matthew 20:26)!
When was the last time we confessed our hard work to God? Sure, we often confess when we neglect God and His things. But what about when we work to try and earn God’s favor? What about all our effort seeking to be seen in the best possible light among God’s people? A beautiful rest comes when God brings us to that place of humility, where we repent of trying to earn what God has already given.
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Romans 10:5-13.
Praying with you,