An Excerpt from the book by Ken Shigematsu
In college I majored in business economic and planned to work in the corporate world upon graduation. But in the back of my mind, I had a sense that God might call me to enter the so-called “Christian ministry,” perhaps as a pastor or missionary. So during my freshman year, when I heard that the world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham was coming to our campus, I went to hear him speak. Afterward, I walked to the front of the auditorium to meet him, figuring the connection might help me out someday. We shook hands, exchanged a few words, and I went off to class—marvelling about the fact that I had just met Billy Graham.
After graduation, I ended up working in the corporate world for a couple of years. But when my desire to pursue vocational ministry grew, I headed off to seminary, and after completing my theological degree, I moved to Los Angeles to help start a new church. There I began mentoring a young lawyer.
One day he asked me, “Do you want to have lunch with the VP?”
“The VP of what?” I replied.
“The Vice President of the United States, Al Gore.” (My friend had done an internship under Gore at the White House.) Unexpectedly, I was able to meet Vice President Al Gore, who at the time was planning to run for president. Like so many ambitious young people with a hungry Striving Adam, I was eager to meet influential leaders who could advise me or open doors for me. My early years of work and ministry were driven by the premises “It’s not what you know that counts, but who you know.”
Yet over time, Jesus Christ has upended my values by his teaching that true greatness is not about our ascending to the top of the social hierarchy, but rather taking the place of the humble, lowly servant. Jesus modelled his posture the night before he went to the cross. On what the poet John Donne called “the world’s last night,” Jesus gathered some of his closest students in an upper room in Jerusalem to share a meal with them. Jesus “knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world” (John 13:1); the following day he would be nailed to a cross. On this last night, when death was imminent, Jesus revealed what he prized most: servanthood.
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