“I Taught The President To Scoop Ice Cream!” (Philippians 2:5-8)

A high school classmate revels in recounting an incident that happened when he was in high school. After school, he worked part-time at a well known ice cream chain. One day, a new hire named Barry arrived and my friend was instructed to teach him the basics. My friend demonstrated the fine art of scooping ice cream and completing orders to the new employee, who quickly caught on.  It was a summer job and he never saw him again, until, perhaps 30 years later, when Barry became president. Yes, this was Barry…Barack Obama! This happened in Honolulu where President Obama grew up and attended high school. My friend laughs when he tells the story. “I taught the president to scoop ice cream!”


The most powerful man on this planet once scooped ice cream and worked under my friend. I love to read or hear about the humble origins of celebrities or leaders. It makes them more real, almost as if that they are human too, just like me!


But could someone from even humbler origins ever become great? What about a poor shepherd? What about a rejected prostitute? What about someone born in a manger to poor young parents, growing up in a backward town, working as a carpenter, and receiving no formal education? Could he ever become famous or a great leader? Ask the prophet Amos, the prostitute Rahab, or our Lord, Jesus Christ.


Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:5-8 (ESV)


Jesus Christ is God. He held the power of the universe in the palm of His hand. But when He became a man and was born on this earth, He gave up everything. He put aside His glory, emptying Himself of His greatness, and became a servant of mankind. The greatness of Jesus is not found in His humble origins, it is found in His character, in His humility and willingness to be obedient and serve God, His Father.


Like a young future president scooping ice cream, do any of us have a chance for greatness? If we define greatness by worldly achievements, the likelihood is slim indeed. Thanks be to God that our true greatness is only defined by our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If I am willing to humble myself, give up everything that I cling to in this life, and follow Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He will begin the transformation of my life and I will live the life I was created to live, in loving fellowship with God. And this is the greatest life anyone could ever aspire…a life serving the God who created me! This is true greatness!




Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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