Did you know there are a number of individuals around the world who right now claim to be Jesus Christ?
Here’s a short list of the “Top Men With A Messiah Complex” from the International Business Times…
Álvaro Theiss , aka “Inri Cristo” from Brazil
Alan John Miller, aka “Jesus Christ of Nazareth” (and his partner Mary Luck, AKA “Mary Magdeline” from Australia
Apollo Quiboloy, aka “Appointed Son of God” from the Philippines
David Shayler, aka “Messiah” from England
Mitsuo Matayoshi aka “God” from Japan
Jung Myung Seok, aka “Jesus” from South Korea
None of the men have holes in their hands or feet, but all of them do have a condition known as the Messiah Complex.
The Wikipedia page on Messiah Complex says…
A messiah complex (also known as the Christ complex or savior complex) is a state of mind in which an individual holds a belief that they are, or are destined to become, a savior. Symptoms of the disorder closely resemble those found in individuals suffering from grandiose delusions. This form of delusional belief is most often reported in patients suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Little is known about the disorder, but it is believed that as many as 10% of the population may hold similar beliefs in one form or another, though not significant enough to warrant a diagnosis. Examples include Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Inri Cristo.
Most of us are never going to claim that we are Jesus Christ, but many of us forget that we are called to be servers, not saviors.
Especially in the protestant, evangelical, charismatic tribe of Christianity…
We like to think of ourselves as “world changers.”
The allure of being savior is strong. And the pull towards serving others? We don’t feel it.
Why are we more attracted to being saviors than servers? I have a few ideas.
1. We don’t like serving people because it’s messy and costly and frustrating and requires an actual relationship and ongoing contact with them. We love the idea of “saving” people because it’s a quick in and out, neat and clean, once and then done – dust our hands off and move on to the next victim.
I like what Dan White Jr. said:
“We try to fix people like they’re broken machines but often they need to soak in community to let their sores heal.”
2. The idea of “saving” people is kind of like a conquest – earning trophies and ribbons… making ME look better. But serving people is humbling and all about THEM.
3. “Saving” people is fun because we get to point out their sin and need of repentance. Serving people is hard because we must identify their problems as OUR PROBLEMS.
4. When we “save” people, there’s a certain air of moral superiority that we carry. When we serve people, we willingly choose the lower place.
My friend Zac Gandara said:
“Jesus jumps in our mess motivated by love and compassion; the Pharisees point out our mess to express their disgust.”
5. We can “save” people using harsh scare tactics, but in order to serve people, we must be gentle, kind, compassionate and loving.
Thomas Merton said:
“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”
6. “Saving” people can be done from a safe distance, but serving people only happens when we are up close and personal.
7. When we “save” people and they mess up, it’s on them—it’s their failure. When we serve people and they are still messed up, it means we keep on serving.
In my opinion, the church today needs to figure this one out…
Our work isn’t to save people, it’s to serve them. God saves. We serve.
There’s no form of loving God that does not include loving and serving people. When we “love” or “serve” God but not others, the god we’ve been serving and loving is ourselves.
God doesn’t reward us for our powerful sermons, deep insights, or life-changing messages. He rewards servants.
“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Jesus asked the question, “Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves?” He responded with the logical answer: “The one who sits a the table, of course.”
And then Jesus did what He so often did. He turned the tables. He upended everything. Jesus rejected the filthy, rotten system and presented a different way…
“But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.” —Luke 22.27
So what does serving look like?
Cooking, feeding, calling, visiting, encouraging, just being there, loving, listening, understanding, defending, helping, praying for, believing the best, writing to, inviting, laughing with, crying with, giving, caring, empathizing, _____________.
Serving takes on many shapes and forms – but at its core, serving is all about meeting someone else’s need.
One of my favorite things Jesus did was when he cooked a meal for his disciples.
“Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish.” —John 21.13
There’s only one Savior. And we’re not.
We’re not called to be saviors, we’re called to be the servers.
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