Tony Kettle is part of the POD leadership team with decades of rich life experience. One of our Jubilee values is the importance of character over gifting or external appearance. Tony gives us some pearls of wisdom concerning the importance of foundations in our Christian lives:
There are a number of features that buildings, whatever their size, have in common and one of the most important is a foundation. So, it can be said that before going up, there is a need to go down.
The statement might sound weird but that is an essential tenet of building construction. The higher the building is intended to be, the deeper must be its foundation. It’s a principle that is found everywhere in life. If we have a goal, we have to set a foundation for it. If we want to work in a certain profession, we have to be prepared to face years of study and training. If we want to be a tradesman, we need to become an apprentice under somebody who is experienced in the trade concerned. This is what is meant by a foundation.
Viewed from another perspective, in order to find oil, mineral resources, diamonds and other precious stones, prospectors need to drill DOWN deep in the ground. Therefore, one needs to go down to find riches!!! Accordingly, to go up to where we want to be, we always have to go down. And going down takes us to places that don’t always resemble our goal. I can identify with this. In 1983 God gave me a deep desire – and a beautiful vision – to be involved in the mission field in the Great Lakes countries of East Africa. Over the years I have developed a passionate love for Africa, having spent a large part of my life in Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. However, just over five years ago God brought me back to the United Kingdom – which certainly does not resemble my goal – my vision – but I have to bow to God’s wisdom!!! He directed me to Jubilee Church where I attended School of the Word in 2013/14. I subsequently realised that this intervention was necessary in order for God to create a stronger biblical foundation in my life and to address certain issues that required attention. In the interim, God’s goodness is so great that earlier this year He opened doors for me to go on mission to Zambia – a country that forms part of my vision.
Nowhere is the concept of ‘going down’ more fundamental than in the life of the Christian. Our supreme example is the Lord Jesus Christ who gave up His Heavenly Kingship, came to earth as a human, was born in a smelly stable, became a humble carpenter and, completely undeserved, suffered a criminal’s death for our sin, before being resurrected and exalted to the right hand of the Father (Philippians 2:5-11). So, if we want to be Christ like, we need to follow His example of modesty, as the scriptures clearly indicate:
“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33 ESV)
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11 ESV)
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you…” (1 Peter 5:6 ESV)
Most people see promotion as climbing their way, over everybody else, to the top of the pile! Jesus, on the other hand, sees it differently:
“But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11 NKJV)
I am reminded of our Lord’s exhortation that, as “branches” of the “True Vine”, we bear MUCH fruit (John 15:8). On this point, when a natural branch of a vine or other fruit tree bears MUCH fruit – when it is heavily laden with good fruit – it sags DOWNWARDS with the sheer weight of it. So, that is the direction we should take!!!