Sunday, October 14, 2007

Who wants to be last?

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Luke 9, 10, 11

Luke 9:46-48 (NIV)

45 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 46 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside Him. 48 Then He said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the One who sent me.” For He who is least among you all – He is the greatest.”

Good morning!

In grade school when our teacher said, “Okay children, it’s time to line up for lunch,” we raced each other to see who would get to the head of the line first. “Who wants to be the leader?” our teacher would ask, and every little hand would go up. First place was a coveted position, especially in the lunch line. Being first meant you got the first dessert choice. Being first meant you could choose between meatloaf and mashed potatoes or a hamburger and French fries. If you were one of the unfortunate ones at the end of the line, you would end up eating whatever was left.

Butting in line was a time-honored tradition for many. If I ended up at the end of the line, I took a quick look to see if one my girlfriends might invite me to join them closer to the front of the line. Occasionally, someone would wave me up with them. Often resented for moving up, that me-first mentality replaced any pangs of guilt I might have felt for the other students patiently waiting for their turn.

We live in a “me-first” mindset. How many commuters show patience and consideration for others while sitting in a traffic jam on their way to work each day? Have you ever experienced an irate shopper, while standing in line at the store during the holiday shopping season? Our not-so-happy attitudes can become pretty ugly, as we place our personal agenda ahead of the needs of others.

Jesus Christ set the bar at servant leadership. We see a perfect, sinless God, humbling Himself in human flesh. He came to love humanity, serving the sick, the despondent, and the lost. If we want to lead like Jesus, we must humble our hearts and choose to serve others with our lives, expecting nothing in return. I imagine our Lord was not impressed with His disciples as they postured for position. Who would head up the line behind the Lord? Is there one disciple who was greater than another? Who determines pecking order, especially when it comes to kingdom work?

I learn a lot from the wee ones in my life: my grandchildren, the children in my Sunday school class, and the little ones who sit by me occasionally during worship. They seem to have an uncanny ability to grasp and hold onto truth. They trust Jesus completely. Their prayers are heartfelt and sincere. Oh, to have the faith of a little child. Without even knowing it, the children lead me to the heart of Christ every time I’m with them.

When I grow up, I want to be His child. It does not matter to me that I get a front row seat in Heaven. I’ll gladly take the nosebleed section of the bleachers in the back of the room, just to be near Him. If I were placed at the head of the line, it would not be because of the good I have done. I would be there because of sin. I place myself at the head of the line every time I insist upon my way rather than the Lord’s way. When I care more about myself than I do for my brother, I’ve bumped my way up to the head of the line. This morning, I’d really like bring up the rear. Thank God for His grace, mercy, and love. Without Christ’s perfect example, I would be forever lost at the head of the line.

Who wants to be last?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO

Pray for: a humble heart. The last shall be first, and the least shall be the greatest. Help me Lord, to want more of you and less of me, day by day.


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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