Jesus taught us downward mobility

The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox, C4FIC Board member.

Real Life Moments

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14)

An ice storm in December 2002 that left much of North Carolina out of power for up to five days.

I will be honest with you. It was an adventure for a while, but then it got old, even for my children. And it was hard for me not to be jealous, maybe even a little bit ticked off, when I heard reports one after another from people whose power had been restored.

I remember driving into town on the fourth day, on my way to Elon University to take a shower in the locker room, hearing on the radio that Duke Power had restored more than 1.2 million of its customers who had lost power. The reporter said, “But there are still around 250,000 who are without power, mostly in Durham, Chapel Hill and Greensboro.”

I yelled at the radio, “Not all of them! There’s still a few of us insignificant little peons in Burlington!”

Now, given the choice, which would you choose? Power or no power? Water to flush your toilets or no water? OK, that’s an easy one. We would almost always choose comfort over primitive living conditions. Let’s increase the stakes a bit.

Let’s say your boss calls you into his office this week and says, “I am offering you a promotion. It will mean more time at the office, more time out of town, and more time away from your family. But the pay raise and the perks are significant.”

Would you take the promotion?

Let’s say the boss says, further, “You can move up the third floor to a corner office. You will be away from the friends you work with now, but the view is amazing.”

Would you take the move?

We will almost always choose more comfort than less, more space than less, more pay than less, more perks than less, more status than less.

We all live with an incredible pull towards upward mobility. And many believe that on the other side of that promotion or that upward climb will be satisfaction, even joy, peace, fulfillment, and security.

But what happens to many on their way up that ladder is that they begin to feel pretty good about themselves and their abilities; they begin to develop a distaste, even a disgust for those around them who “haven’t yet made it.”

They even get to the place where they don’t see a need for that wife who helped get them there and they don’t have time for the kids anymore (too much to do!). They start wondering why people around them are so slow and so immature and so ignorant … get the picture?

The track of upward mobility is a dangerous one. Worst of all, the track of upward mobility can deceive one into thinking that the real meaning of life is found in status, success, and stuff. But Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul (Mark 8:36)?”

As we stand on the threshold of this Christmas season, keep in mind that Jesus taught and lived downward mobility. John 1:1 tells us that Jesus existed in the beginning with God, because Jesus is God. But Jesus did not stay in heaven. Love came down. John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.”

The great news of Christmas is that Jesus was “born that man no more may die.” Love came down … and that’s worth celebrating.

Prayer: “Lord, help me to keep my ‘status’ and my ‘stuff’ in perspective and to live in light of the truth that You lived a ‘downwardly mobile’ life!

Action: Take your family (and others from the church, perhaps) to a modest nursing home in your community and spend time with the folks there, loving them giving them simple gifts they can use, singing Christmas carols to them.

Take me back to


About C4FIC

The Council for Family-Integrated Churches exists to promote reverence for the gospel in order to reform the church and restore the home as an embassy of the kingdom of God.
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