Monday, January 19, 2015

Jockeying for First Place

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us…Do not imitate what is evil but what is good.  Anyone who does what is good is from God” 3 John 9, 11.

There is nothing more obnoxious than a person who exalts himself.  His or her audience stands by drenched in the self-love and self-promotion of someone who loves to be first.  You know the type…they constantly talk instead of listening…they promote themselves instead of promoting issues…they bulldoze in conversations instead of allowing others their time.  They take instead of receive, they demand instead of offer and in the end we depart from them exhausted.  Ironically, the only thing worse than being in the presence of someone who promotes themselves is being that person.

I know that there have been times when it was important to me to gain credit for something I had done or said. The closer I get to the Lord the more bitter taste I have in my mouth when those self-promoting words tumble out.  John writes that in trying to jockey for first place we are submitting to our evil flesh.  But when we do ‘good’ we are submitting to the Spirit.  So what is good?  Good is what Jesus defined as the spirit in which we must live.  John echoed what Jesus taught him:  Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves’ Luke 22:26. 

Doing good means serving others instead of serving ourselves.  Doing good means building up people instead of tearing them down.  We do good when we limit our words and sharpen our ears.  The earthly kingdom demands us to clamor for first place, while the spiritual Kingdom invites us to take a seat in the back.  Through our service will come our leadership.  Jesus served over and over again until the end of His life at which point He became the ‘first fruit’ in Heaven as a result of God’s plan.

May we all pursue a servant heart in a world that calls all to be masters.

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