Dancing with the Broom: Your Worth in the Eyes of God vs. How Others See You
by Rich Deem


I work at a major California medical center as a researcher doing molecular biology research. A few years ago, Laura, our floor's custodian, came in and started sweeping the floor of our laboratory. At some point, some other scientists came into the room, bustling around setting up experiments. Laura, sensing she was somewhat in the way, apologized, saying, "Don't mind me. I'm just dancing with the broom." The implication was that we scientists were doing the important work, while she was doing the unimportant job of cleaning up. Behind this idea is the closely associated one that says that some people are more important than others because of what they contribute to society. Thus, doctors, sports stars, and movie stars are almost revered as gods (and some of them think they are!). However, God judges the importance of people using a far different scale.

The greatest will be a servant

When Jesus called His disciples together, many of them were in competition with each other to determine who would be called the greatest among them.1 They expected Jesus to identify one of them as being the most spiritual or the best leader. Instead, Jesus told them that the greatest would be a humble2 servant to others.3 Jesus said that the world sees the one being served at a table to be greater than the one who serves him. However, Jesus indicated that He was the one who served others.4 During the Passover meal, it was customary for the servant to provide water for the guests to wash their hands. However, Jesus turned this idea on its head by taking water and a towel and washing the disciple's feet. Peter was so offended that he initially refused to have his feet washed.5 Jesus provided this example of how to be great by being a servant, Himself being called the Servant of God in the Old and New Testaments.6 Jesus said that the person who served by following Him would be honored by God the Father.7 Throughout the New Testament, followers of Jesus are described by the Greek word doulos,8 which means bond-servant or slave.9 So, according to the Bible, the path to greatness is through humble service.

Do not show partiality

Society tends to put an emphasis on titles and lofty-sounding positions. However, Jesus said that we should not seek to gather titles, such as "Rabbi" or "leader."10 The elevation of certain people on the basis of title or wealth is strictly discouraged in Christianity. The apostle James said that we should not favor someone because they are wealthy and dressed in fancy clothes, but calls such favoritism "evil."11 Numerous verses, throughout the Old and New Testaments make it clear that we should not treat people with favoritism or bias.12 Instead, we are to do everything in love13 and to do only good to all people.14

God is not partial

The reason why we are to act without partiality is because God Himself does not show partiality towards individuals.15 So, the Christian is to serve others on the basis of the strength God supplies,16 so that all glory goes to Him.17 God values all human beings equally,18 since we are all created in His image.19 Even though we are created in the image of God, we have all strayed from His morally-perfect image,20 and so need a Savior21 to be declared Holy and acceptable to God by faith in Jesus Christ,22 in order to gain entrance into heaven.23 However, once we enter that state, our station in heaven will be based upon our record of service to others in this life.24 So, it seems likely that the famous people on earth might be the broom pushers in heaven, while the lowly are given the highest honors.

Conclusion Top of page

Whether you are the president of the United States or "just dancing with a broom," you have worth because you are created in the image of God. As Christians, we are to do our work as if we were serving the Lord Himself,16 since we are. Besides the work we do to support ourselves, we are to humbly serve others, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs as we lead them to the glorious kingdom of Jesus Christ.

References Top of page

  1. At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" (Matthew 18:1)
    But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. (Mark 9:34)
    An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest. (Luke 9:46)
    And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. (Luke 22:24)
  2. "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:4)
  3. "It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant" (Matthew 20:26)
    "But the greatest among you shall be your servant." (Matthew 23:11)
    Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." (Mark 9:35)
    "But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant" (Mark 10:43)
    "But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant." (Luke 22:26)
  4. "For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. (Luke 22:27)
  5. Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, "Lord, do You wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter." Peter said to Him, "Never shall You wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head." Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." (John 13:10)
  6. "Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1)
    As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:11)
    "The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. (Acts 3:13)
    "For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways." (Acts 3:26)
    while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus." (Acts 4:30)
    "For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, (Acts 4:27)
    For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, (Romans 15:8)
    but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:7)
  7. "If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. (John 12:26)
  8. "Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; (Luke 2:29)
    Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, (Romans 1:1)
    I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; (Romans 16:1)
    For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
    just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, (Colossians 1:7)
    As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information. (Colossians 4:7)
    In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. (1 Timothy 4:6)
    The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, (2 Timothy 2:24)
    Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, (Titus 1:1)
    Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; (Hebrews 3:5)
    James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings. (James 1:1)
    Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: (2 Peter 1:1)
    Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: (Jude 1:1)
    The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, (Revelation 1:1)
    And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations! (Revelation 15:3)
  9. Thayer's Greek Definitions
    doulos δοῦλος (Strong's #G1401)
    1. a slave, bondman, man of servile condition
      1. a slave
      2. metaphorically, one who gives himself up to another’s will those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men
      3. devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests
    2. a servant, attendant
    Part of Speech: noun
    A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G1210
    Citing in TDNT: 2:261, 182
  10. "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. (Matthew 23:8)
    "Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. (Matthew 23:10)
  11. My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool," have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called? If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF," you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (James 2:1-9)
  12. nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute. (Exodus 23:3)
    'You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly. (Leviticus 19:15)
    'You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not fear man, for the judgment is God's. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.' (Deuteronomy 1:17)
    "You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. (Deuteronomy 16:19)
    "Now then let the fear of the LORD be upon you; be very careful what you do, for the LORD our God will have no part in unrighteousness, or partiality, or the taking of a bribe." (2 Chronicles 19:7)
    "Let me now be partial to no one; Nor flatter any man. (Job 32:21)
    To show partiality to the wicked is not good, Nor to thrust aside the righteous in judgment. (Proverbs 18:5)
    These also are sayings of the wise. To show partiality in judgment is not good. (Proverbs 24:23)
    To show partiality is not good, Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress. (Proverbs 28:21)
    I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. (1 Timothy 5:21)
  13. Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14)
  14. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. (Galatians 6:10)
  15. "For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. (Deuteronomy 10:17)
    "Surely, God will not act wickedly, And the Almighty will not pervert justice... Who says to a king, 'Worthless one,' To nobles, 'Wicked ones'; Who shows no partiality to princes Nor regards the rich above the poor, For they all are the work of His hands? (Job 34:12-19)
    Opening his mouth, Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, (Acts 10:34)
    For there is no partiality with God. (Romans 2:11)
    But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)--well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me. (Galatians 2:6)
    And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. (Ephesians 6:9)
  16. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)
  17. Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
    Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:17)
  18. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference. (Romans 3:22)
    For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; (Romans 10:12)
    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
  19. See Man, Created in the Image of God.
  20. For the choir director. A Psalm of David. The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. (Psalm 14:1)
    God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there is anyone who understands, Who seeks after God. Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one. (Psalm 53:2-3)
    And do not enter into judgment with Thy servant, For in Thy sight no man living is righteous. (Psalm 143:2)
    For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
    "Why do you contend with Me? You have all transgressed against Me," declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 2:29)
    "Indeed all Israel has transgressed Thy law and turned aside, not obeying Thy voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him. (Daniel 9:11)
    All of them are stubbornly rebellious, Going about as a talebearer. They are bronze and iron; They, all of them, are corrupt. (Jeremiah 6:28)
    for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
    as it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one;" (Romans 3:10)
    But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. (Galatians 3:22)
  21. for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11)
    "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." (Acts 5:30-31)
    For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; (Philippians 3:20)
  22. even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; (Romans 3:22)
    whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; (Romans 3:25)
    for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:26)
    For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. (Romans 5:17-18)
    so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:21)
    But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, (1 Corinthians 1:30)
    For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." (Romans 1:17)
    For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." (Romans 4:3)
    But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, (Romans 4:5)
    just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: (Romans 4:6)
    Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, "FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." (Romans 4:9)
    and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, (Romans 4:11)
    For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. (Romans 4:13)
    If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)
    What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; (Romans 9:30)
    having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:11)
    For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. (Galatians 5:5)
    By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (Hebrews 11:7)
    He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  23. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
    "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36)
    "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24)
    The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:20-21)
    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
    but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, (2 Timothy 1:10)
    He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)
    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, (1 Peter 1:3-4)
  24. "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. (Luke 6:35)
    Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. (1 Corinthians 3:8-9)
    Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. (Colossians 3:23-24)
    "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12)

We are what we think.

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Last Modified March 20, 2009


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