by Ann Voskamp
He must become greater; I must become less.
Matthew 20:26 “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”
When that plucky Jennifer Lawrence kid in her festooning white gown trips trying to get up on that platform to get her Oscar—the world falls in love a bit more for her stumbling, blessed humanity.
Because, really now, who teaches you how to hold up the piles of taffeta and take the stairs for the Oscars, who teaches you how to stand up and be famous?
It just isn’t done—or at least, if you check out the headlines in the checkout aisle, it’s rarely done well. Because the thing is, no one is meant to stand really on platforms. Sure, everyone’s got a platform under them—every artist, every businessperson, every person with a message, a service, a product. And the movers and shakers would have us thinking that a platform is what elevates your visibility above the crowd so your message finds its your audience. But there’s a deeper current of Truth running through the cosmos: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
A platform is whatever one finds under one’s self—and the only thing that is meant to be under a Christian is an altar.
The only call on a Christian is not to pick up a microphone, not to pick some stairs to some higher platform, but to pick up a cross and come die.
The only call on a Christian is to build every platform into the shape of an altar, to shape every platform into the form of sacrificial service.
Every platform, every microphone, every podium is meant to be a nail—fixing us to Christ, the only One lifted up, and fixing something in the listener’s life, us kneeling down to serve.
The world tilts upside down and finally aright when we see all platforms simply taking on the form of service.
- Serve from a real place: A platform isn’t about remarkable marketing; it’s about serving in a remarkable way. It’s about serving from a real place of humility, authenticity, and vulnerable transparency. Jesus’ platform was a place of serving from his real humanity, as he walked and talked and broke and gave away his real life. The most remarkable platforms are those that are altars that leave the mark of the sacrificed Christ. Are you serving from a real place or a pretentious place?
- Serve a real need: A platform is a holy place to kneel down and wash the very real wounds of the hurting. Jesus’ platform wasn’t about pushing his agenda or ‘product,’ but about caring for people’s afflictions and pain. Are you serving a real need or a hungry ego?
- Serve real value: A platform isn’t about self-serving, but is about humbly serving possible solutions. Jesus’ platform was about bending low to offer that which had real, eternal value. Are you serving real value or what makes you look valuable?
Platforms are never about marketing a service—but serving in remarkable ways. Cease striving to get to a higher, greater platform—and start praying to go lower to serve greater.
Could have been the tulle and satin that made Jennifer Lawrence trip trying to get up to that platform. Might be what you see in checkout headlines and in the pages of the Good Book:
The soul was never made to carry the weight of fame.
Fame can only be carried by the One who could carry the weight of the world on that Cross.
You can see it in the anatomy of a soul: we weren’t made for standing on platforms, but were formed to serve from the beauty of bent knees—the servant lowering into the glory of the upside-down Kingdom.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Are you serving from a real place of humility or a pretentious place of pride? Are you serving a real need or a hungry ego? Are you serving real value or what makes you look valuable?
PRAYER: Lord, forgive us for ever thinking platforms are about marketing a service—instead of serving in remarkable ways. Help us.
Forgive us for striving to get to a higher, greater platform—instead of praying to go lower to serve greater. Help us.
Forgive us for picking up a microphone, picking up some stairs to some higher platform—without picking up our cross to come die. Help us.
Lord, make it so: A platform is whatever one finds under one’s self—and may the only thing under me ever be an altar. Help us.
In the name of the only one who can bear the weight of fame and all my broken humanity on that cross, Amen.
ANN VOSKAMP. Farmer’s wife. Home-educating mama to 6. Author of the NYT bestseller One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. DaySpring writer. Women of Faith speaker. Library book loser. Named by Christianity Today as one of the leading 50 women most shaping culture and the church today.