I mean simple things, like the vacuum cleaner.
There I was giving it everything, attacking the dust on the stairs without mercy but all to no avail.
Eventually I twigged on what the problem was. The bag was full and ready to burst. It simply couldn’t take any more. Once a new, empty bag was fitted we were good to go with a fresh blast of power, clearing all before us like some kind of manic avengers.
‘Empowerment’, that’s one of the trendy words these days. We’re supposed to be ‘empowering’ women, young people, minority groups, filling them with information and confidence, training them to succeed and achieve.
But ironically, it was when my old hoover was emptied that it had the most power. When it was full of stuff it was sluggish. Cleaned out it was like a rocket.
Ancient wisdom suggests great effectiveness actually comes about when someone humbles themselves, ‘empties’ themselves in the service of others. As Easter approaches, Christians worldwide remember with wonder and thanksgiving Jesus ‘who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death – even death on a cross!’ (Philippians 2 v 6-8)
Post-resurrection He has been ‘exalted to the highest place’ by God and given ‘the name that is above every name’, but first He did His most powerful work by ‘emptying’ Himself of all heavenly majesty to suffer for our sins and offer global salvation.
The 1st century writer Paul suggests we should follow suit. Instead of being obsessed with gratifying our selfish ego we should humbly consider and look to the needs of others, and there’s no shortage of opportunity!
As Holy Week draws near, let’s look for occasion to do something humble, sacrificial and potentially powerful in His name.