The Upside Down Life

The Upside-Down Life

My husband and I just got back from a one-week tour of duty as substitute parents for two toddlers, ages 1 & 3.  These precious toddlers are some of our children’s children.  Since there were two of us working fulltime, making the adult-to-infant ratio a reasonable 1-to-1, we did okay.   It’s been a few years since we’ve been in the “diapers, bottles and naptime” epoch of life.   Let’s say the timeframe feels comparable to the Jurassic Era.  But it does come right back.  Like riding a bike.

The other thing that came right back was the “being a Mom feeling.”  Nothing much was really getting done here – just feeding, dressing, undressing, washing, unwashing, entertaining, refereeing, listening, negotiating, coaching, anticipating, teaching, guarding, and eradicating (some) sin.  Pretty much took everything I had to give.  Lots of sweetness and love but no great sense of accomplishment.

There is an idea, not original with me, but one that this brief return to the responsibilities of parenting sort of “lit up” for me.  The idea is this – the totally holy Jesus, our model for life, lived His life upside-down.

Let’s think together about the one totally holy upside-down Life.  The Life started with conception in the womb of an unmarried virgin, someone held in lowest esteem. The Life emerged in a stable, the lowest of shelters.  The Life worked with fishermen and ate with tax collectors, the lowest of society.  The Life presented itself to Jerusalem on the foal of donkey, the lowest of transportation.  The Life donned a towel and washed feet, the lowest of tasks.  And finally, The Life was put to death on a cross between two criminals, the lowest of executions.

It was all upside-down.

Yet upside-down became rightside-up!  Lowest became highest; humility became glory; submission became sovereignty; defeat became victory; death became everlasting life; servant became king!

Mark 9:33 says, “They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?”  But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest.  Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.””  It’s all upside-down.

In your home, in your workplace, in your daily routines, you are playing out the drama of following your upside-down King.  This drama is full of outrageous, upside-down opportunities.  Outrageous opportunities like submission: the upside-down way to freedom; self-denial: the upside-down way to self-discovery; giving: the upside-down way to receiving; and service: the upside-down way to exaltation.

St. Francis DeSales said: “The King of Glory rewards His servants not according to the dignity of their office, but according to the love and humility with which they carry it out.”  Let’s use all of our absurd, outrageous daily opportunities to follow Jesus, and live our lives upside-down.

Barbara Linn

Barbara Linn

Interim Secretary. Barb currently serves with her husband David, who oversees the seventy-nine churches of the Northeastern District. They have visited a different Alliance church in upstate New York almost every weekend for four years.

Eight Responses to “The Upside-Down Life”

  1. Thanks Barb
    That says it all!
    God has so much for me if i trust and obey rather than live in my flesh.
    Great encouragement for me

  2. Wonderful message Barb. We are so proud of you. Mostly for being willing and brave enough to fill in for what I consider to be one of the hardest jobs on the planet.

  3. I’m going to be moving to the Northeastern District later this year and hope to meet you as well as get involved with GCW.
    I shared this on Facebook. I have two friends who regularly watch their grands. One has five, the youngest still in diapers. I’m going to tag them.

  4. Hi Barbara,
    I just read your essay. That’s a great comparison.
    Looking forward to seeing you at Delta Lake next weekend.

  5. Thanks for this important reminder, Barb!
    This perspective has the potential to change our “daily deal” and open countless opportunities for kingdom work amidst the pressures of “the now”.
    This is timely for me.

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