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December 25, 2023

A Portrait Of Two Kings

Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.

–Matthew 20:26-27

One of my favorite television programs is the classic sitcom “Seinfeld.” A key character on the show is a guy named George, who is a loser in every sense of the word. He cannot hold a job. He lives with his parents. He is always striking out with women. In one episode, George is tired of his mediocre existence, so he decides to start doing the opposite of everything he usually does. When he goes to the cafe, instead of ordering tuna on toast, he orders chicken salad on rye. When a girl looks at him, instead of being intimidated, he walks right up to her. And amazingly, by doing what is opposite, George starts experiencing success in every part of his life.

Now, there is no evidence that George is a Christian, but he exhibits a Christian principle here: the key to success and significance in life is doing the opposite of what comes naturally. Jesus said, “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25). He also said, “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave” (20:26-27). If you really want success and significance, you need to go against your natural inclination.

Do you want material success in life? The world says, “Hold on to what you have.” God says, “Let go of what you have.”

Do you fear what your opposition might do to you? The world says, “Crush your opposition.” God says, “Love your opposition.”

Do you want to climb to the top of the organization where you work? The world says, “Rule over other people.” God says, “Serve other people.”

Do you desire to have eternal life? The world says, “You have to work for your salvation.” God says, “You receive salvation as a gift.”

The surest way to fail in life is to follow your natural inclination. The way to succeed in your life is to do the opposite of what comes naturally. This week, as we celebrate Christmas, we are going to see an illustration of that truth in a portrait of two very different kings. One king embraced the world’s philosophy for success, and he experienced humiliation. The other King embraced God’s formula for success, and He experienced exaltation.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Portrait of Two Kings” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

“Seinfeld,” season 5, episode 22, “The Opposite,” written by Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, and Andy Cowan, aired May 19, 1994, on NBC.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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