1. Even if you have all the power, splendor and resources of God himself, come into the world unattractive, poor and in a social standing generally regarded as powerless.
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
2. Spend decades of your life, perhaps even the most “productive” years, living off the radar in complete obscurity. For example, leave no verifiable records of your actions or activities in your teens or your twenties.
3. Spend time with people who have no power to change things. In fact, make them your partners. And maybe throw in a few people that most of the world would scorn and might not even necessarily trust or believe.
1 Corinthians 1:26-28
Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.
4. Do extraordinarily kind and loving things. Things that could make you famous and bring widespread attention to your good work. Then encourage people to tell no one about them.
Matthew 8:4, Jesus heals a leper and tells him to tell no one.
Mark 7:36, Jesus heals a man who can’t hear or speak and tells him to tell no one.
Matthew 9:30, Jesus heals blind people and tells them to tell no one.
5. Even though you know you only have a couple of years to personally spread your message as far and wide as possible, spend time mostly with individuals or in small groups in quiet and intimate settings. You may even consider generally avoiding situations where your message will be heard by great numbers of people, especially if those people will want you to take a widely recognized place of power within the culture at large.
When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!” When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself.
6. Get to know people. Really know them. Intimately. Their bodily functions. Their foot odor. Their addictions. Their shame. Their jealousies. Their selfishness. Their brokenness. Their weaknesses. Their most ugly habits. Their hatred of you and everything you stand for. And love them anyway. Love them until it kills you. In fact, love them until they kill you.
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
7. End your mission on earth when your life is still at its prime and just when it seems you might be gaining some momentum and perhaps even a small following. Surrender your life into the hands of the people who hated you. Even though a noble death might make you more likely to be favorably remembered, die a shameful, criminal’s death. Do it for the sake of those who worked the hardest against your purposes, your mission and your message. For your enemies.
The Message (MSG)
You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don’t walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message.
8. Do it to make a place for your enemies in your home. To share with them all your inheritance. Offer them your friendship. Offer them a place in your family. And then let them take all that you’ve given them and reject it. Over and over again. And keep loving them anyway, rejoicing when they finally do turn towards you.
20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[a]’
22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.