To achieve greatness, you must serve all.
by Jonathan Ray, NCCS Director of Student Life
Christian education is more than teaching top academics from a biblical worldview. True, that’s foundational — but, just as the foundation of a building is only the beginning, at North Cobb Christian School, Christian education begins in the classroom and is then built from the ground up, brick upon brick — on the field, the stage, the canvas and beyond.
One major arena for spiritual development is during weekly chapel, where students are challenged to live a life conformed to Christ. Let’s take a peek inside this month’s Middle School and Upper School chapels to see what a top-notch Christian education in a nurturing environment actually looks like, played out.
NCCS Habitude | Unpacking The Waldorf Principle
In case you haven’t had the chance to join us for a weekly Middle or Upper School chapel, we’ve been diving deep into a leadership series for the past year called Habitudes, which is a Tim Elmore leadership ministry dedicated to creating a “habit of heart attitudes” in students. Each month at NCCS, we introduce a new leadership quality from the Habitudes study, specifically looking at the person and character of Jesus, to see who He is and, most importantly, how we can learn to love and mirror His life and goodness.
This past week, Pastor Jeff Hidden from Victory Church came and taught the Upper and Middle School chapels, introducing The Waldorf Principle. The name of this Habitude is inspired by a young hotel manager who, on a rainy night in Philadelphia, gave up his own room to an older couple who came in the middle of the night seeking a vacancy. The hotel was booked, but out of a desire to serve the guests, he sacrificed his own comfort for someone in need. Unbeknownst to the hotel manager, the husband in this couple just happened to be William Waldorf Astor, one of the wealthiest real estate developers in America.
Two years later, Waldorf returned with a proposition: He needed a manager for his world-premier luxury hotel in New York City, and he wanted this young manager. The man’s heart for service had won over Waldorf, and he could think of no one better to manage his new hotel. The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel is still in existence and recently underwent the highest hotel sale in history.
Do you want to be great?
We can sum up the Waldorf Principle this way: the pathway to greatness is paved by a humble heart longing to serve others.
It seems paradoxical. Our world rewards the self-promoter, the magnetic leader, the most attractive and talented, but God prefers the humble — the one who seeks to serve. God prefers this because it is in line with who He is, with His character and actions. The Waldorf Principle is most perfectly shown in the character of Jesus, who, though He was God, humbled Himself as a servant over and over again, and was thus given the highest place of honor — He is the name above all names (Phil. 2:5-9; John 13:3-5).
Are you willing to wash feet?
You see, Jesus had every right to be served! He’s the King, the Creator. Instead, He came to serve. He got on His knees and washed dirty feet, He healed the sick that no one cared for, He spent time with the outcasts, He loved on those who had nothing to offer Him in return. Jesus loved to serve. In Matthew 20:25-28, when Jesus is asked if two of His disciples could be given the great honor of sitting next to Him in heaven, He responds with a biting challenge: “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” What a challenge.
Learning patience in the grocery line.
Do you want your life to be great? Become like a servant, a slave. That is how you find the greatness that God has for you and your life. How backwards is this from the world?
At chapel with our Middle and High School students, Pastor Jeff shared a very powerful and challenging story as he finished his message. Recently, he had to stop at a grocery store amidst a busy day and he flew in, hoping to be out as fast as possible. As he stood in line waiting to go through checkout, his line stopped moving. First, there was a need for a price check, then the receipt machine needed more paper, and the issues kept coming. (Have you ever been there?)
As he stood in that grocery line, getting more and more angry and frustrated at how slow the line was, he prayed and asked God for patience. The answer that he received was not very flattering. He was convicted by the Holy Spirit that it was pride that was making him angry, not a lack of patience. Pride. The Holy Spirit convicted him, saying, “It is because you think that you are so important and that the cashier and other people are ignoring you and your needs that is making you so mad.” That challenge silenced him and stopped him in his tracks. When he got through the line, he saw that on the apron of the cashier was a sticker: “First day on the job.” Filled with conviction and compassion, he encouraged her, talked to her, and told her to take her time.
Pride: The Enemy of Greatness
How often does pride keep us from serving others? Pride is a deadly silent sin. Pride keeps us from humbly serving because pride says we are the most important person in the room. Pride shifts our focus to ourselves and our rights, rather than to others and their needs. It is the sin of the devil, and it only leads to destruction (Proverbs 16:18).
Thank goodness our Jesus isn’t proud. Thank goodness He’s humble. Imagine how much humility was needed for Jesus to walk up a hill He created to be nailed to a cross by people He created. He did all this with a heart of love & service for His Father, serving by laying down his own life, so that you and I might find the undeserved gift of redemption, forgiveness, freedom, and true joy. Where would we be if Christ didn’t serve us? Does that challenge you? How does that knowledge change you?
The Better Way
You see, we all need the Waldorf Principle in our lives, because Jesus has a better way for us. He doesn’t tell us how to live, he shows us by serving us sacrificially. The path that Jesus has laid out leads to greatness, leads to joy … leads to humility. The path of the world leads to prideful destruction.
If you are reading this now, know this, God has made you for greatness.
It doesn’t matter if you are young or old (the Lord called Abraham into the wilderness when he was over 70!), God has greatness in store for you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and there is a rich life waiting for you in the hands of Jesus. Press into that, ask Him to lead you. If you seek Him, He’ll draw near to you. Press into the Waldorf Principal, asking God to open your eyes and heart in service of others, and see the truth of the gospel in your life, firsthand.