Post by Joanne Viola, treasurer of The Lulu Tree

The words are before me in the devotional book describing Roman society in biblical days as antagonistic, doing anything to climb the ladder of success and be widely recognized in their world.

Is the description really any different than our world today?

We define ourselves by the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in our homes. Social media has us all clamoring for “followers” as if the number attached to our names truly means anything of significance. We keep striving and climbing to get to a desired salary figure only to find once we arrive, contentment is elusive. It all is not enough and we keep on striving.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”(Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)

From Devotions on the Greek New Testament, Volume 2, page 97 (by Nijay K. Gupas):

Lift up one another.Paul does something clever here. If Roman life was conceived of as a fight up the ladder of status, Paul tells the Philippians to treat everyone – even those below you on the ladder – as if they were above you. This is not “doormat” theology, however; it doesn’t mean I should devalue myself. Rather, if everyone does this, it subverts the ladder system itself.”

One of the beautiful lessons The Lulu Tree has brought to light in my own life is this concept of ladders and scaffolding. Instead of a “climbing up” mentality, there is a “hand up” attitude. One of reaching down to lift others up, after all, is that not the attitude Christ has displayed towards each of us? He reaches down to pull us out of the pit we find ourselves in and yet are helpless to get ourselves out from.

Think of scaffolding. Its purpose is to support and hold the materials needed to bring repair and restoration to a structure. It provides safety and materials needed until the structure is restored and able to function on its own without outside support.

This is what The Lulu Tree seeks to do. Our desire is to provide the needed resources to equip and then release them to live purposefully and productively, helping their own to do the same.

What if instead of climbing up the ladders, we were to go down the ladder?

It is then we may see the forgotten, the broken, and the marginalized.

What if instead of seeking upward mobility, we began giving a hand up to those in need, seeking the benefit of others?

It is then we may best display Christ to a world dying and in desperate need of the Savior, for Christ never lived to climb to the top but humbly lowered Himself to come to the earth and lift us up.

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant …”(Philippians 2:5-7a, NIV)

Christ. He became a servant to the dying world.
May I (we) do nothing less.


Praise and Prayer

Sierra Leone:

  • Please pray for Mummy Christiana (Pastor Sonnel’s wife) who is recovering from surgery.
  • Please pray for the North American team that is traveling this week to Sierra Leone–for traveling mercies and God’s guidance and protection over their time there.
  • Praise for the completion of a home for Daniel and his wife, who are now able to house orphans from the village.
  • Praise God for donations of medical equipment from North America for the medical clinic!

South Sudan:

  • Praise God that our team has been able to visit the refugee camps again!
  • Please pray for continued guidance for our team as they meet pastors and leaders and learn how The Lulu Tree can best serve the refugees.
  • Pray with us that the tentative peace accord in South Sudan will hold, and that political leaders will work together to secure a peaceful future.


  • Praise God that Ethan, Mummy Esther’s boy, is recovering from an ear infection, measles and malaria!
  • Praise God that the teen mamas have received school supplies have started their school year.
  • Praise God for the new School of Hope building, which is being renovated!
  • Pray with us for guidance and grace for the right leadership, teachers and staff to run the school.
  1. October 8, 2018

    Praise God! Wonderful message about being servants just as Christ came not to be served, but to serve! Yes, we’ll join you in prayer for these needs! God bless you all!

    • October 15, 2018

      Thank you for the prayers, Roxie! You are a blessing.

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