Are you familiar with that slogan from Eggo brand frozen waffles, “Leggo my Eggo”? Well, in recent days I have been asking the Lord to help me “let go my ego.” Let me explain.
The moment I became a follower of Jesus years ago was when I was reading the Bible and I 1) I believed He was God in the flesh and 2) believed that He washed His disciples’ feet on the evening preceding His death.
That was it for me. I realized He was the God and Leader I had been looking for. I remember that part of my thinking was, He is a leader I will follow because He is the ultimate hero but He doesn’t act like a hero. There can be a heroic aspect to martyrdom, something gloriously self-sacrificial in dying on the cross in the place of others. But there is nothing heroic or glorious in performing menial tasks for others. Nontheless the washing of feet, behind closed doors, out of the public eye, was the example He gave to His inner circle. And it was the example He specifically asked them to repeat in their dealings with one another. (Wash, dry, repeat… sounds like laundry instructions more than discipleship, but you get the idea.)
Author Jan Hettinga says in his excellent book The Safe King, which we are getting ready to publish in Cuba:
Jesus is the one safe leader because He has no ego entwined in His love for us . . .
[it’s as though He says to us] “I have your best interest at heart. I will not take advantage
of you because I’m stronger or smarter than you are.”
However, it is truly a challenge to follow this example of our Lord! One would think that after 20 years of missionary service I would be more truly humble in the innermost recesses of my heart, but it seems that my ego has been down there secretly popping steroid pills all this time. To paraphrase Scripture, “The spirit is willing, but the ego is too strong.” Too strong and too desirous of being right, of being thanked, of being recognized.
I was reflecting on these things last month during our ACTION Cuba team retreat. Our family had the privilege of traveling down with Randy Alcorn and his wife, Nanci. We had a great time with them at the retreat and then Randy spoke at a Bible School and at a Purity Rally for about 700 people. I was really paying attention to how Randy interacted with people (at least, when he wasn’t underwater, because during free time each day he would go snorkeling for hours!)
Randy is someone who has authored a million-seller and also a book that sold two million copies. Some of his friends are professional athletes and nationally-known celebrities, and Randy is sort of a celebrity in his own right. But if you didn’t know that you would never guess it.
I was prepared for someone of his stature to be a Bible expert and to teach with authority. And I anticipated that he would be one of the best speakers I had ever taken down to Cuba. But I had not expected him to spend so much quality time with my kids, as though they were NFL quarterbacks and movie stars! Randy was eager to chat with whoever the Lord put in his path and was intentional about reaching out to people.
I am thankful that we not only have the Lord’s example to follow, but that of mature Christians like Randy as well. For those of us who are still trying to “leggo of their ego” it is a helpful challenge for us to be around people who are “someone” but who truly act like “the servant of all.” May the Lord help all of us to reflect His example of ego-less love.