October 5: Write 31 Days: In a Me-First World, What if Christians Were Last?


I have to admit, this consciously writing every day, whether I feel inspired or not, whether I'm pissed off and having a bad day or not, is HARD. When the words come out, I sometimes feel they sound forced or pompous. I hope not, but bear with me.

Today I went to the grocery store, which is one of my least favorite tasks, right up there with returning phone calls, making appointments, writing emails, and doing the dishes. Basically, anything that is mundane, repetitive and/or administrative drives me crazy. But we eventually run out of food, and at some point we need to go to the dentist, lest all our teeth fall out and we can't eat the aforementioned food, so I do what I have to do.

Most of the time at the store the two littles are very well-behaved, but there are always those days that are the exception to the rule. Like today. And it wasn't anything terrible, just a scurrying about, a throwing of products we weren't going to buy, a climbing on things cleverly disguised as steps but were actually stacks of soda and sugar, and a hiding behind self-constructed diaper barricades when it was long past time to leave.

So these things slowly grate on me, as you can imagine, and by the time I make it up to the register, I am done. No longer is there any currency left in the form of positive emotions or patience--those were cashed out long ago. If I can just make it through the checkout line, we can finally go home...

The checkout line isn't normally a time in my shopping experience where I stop to consider the needs of anyone other then my own. I look for the shortest line with the least amount of groceries per person and hope for a competent and speedy cashier. If I only happen to have a couple items that day, I get irritated if the person in front of me with a cart full and no children doesn't offer me a spot ahead of them.

On top of that, while I was milling up and down the isles at the store today, I noticed items that weren't properly stacked but didn't bother to fix them. Items my children were even responsible for knocking over, and I didn't straighten them. My son picked up a handful of spilled dry beans he found, and I instructed him to put them back with the rest of them behind a pallet. Because the people who worked there would pick them up. That was their job, after all.

But what does all of that say about my heart?

Jesus sat down and called for the 12 disciples to come to him. Then he said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last. They must be the servant of everyone.” {Mark 9:35 NIRV}

There are some really hard words in the Bible. Words like love one another, die to self, and be a servant. Sometimes, they top off the hard words with seemingly impossible ones, like be a servant of everyone. My selfish heart so often wishes for a footnote that excludes certain parties.

But I was reminded today that living well, living a Life that is Truly Life, is hard. It goes against every natural fiber of our being, and that's because it's other-worldly. We can't do it ourselves, and we weren't created to. It necessitates the very indwelling of Christ Himself to make choices that aren't selfish. Choices that give glory to Him alone. Choices that cause us to set aside our very life--our wants, our needs, our desires--in order to love others well.

To be the servant of everyone.

And if I'm really, really honest? I don't want to do that.

It's not comfortable; it's not convenient; it's not easy. Death is painful. Self doesn't want to sacrifice, self doesn't want to put in the hard work and long hours and deal with the pain involved in loving others well. Self, if it's really honest, would like to be the one who's served.

But it's in the trenches of other-worldliness, of spirit-filledness, of Christ-likeness in the midst of our humanness, that Life that is Truly Life is lived.

So what would it look like, friends, if we went about our simple lives doing the simple things we do every day, like going to the grocery store, with the heart of a servant? With the mindset, the goal, to intentionally put ourselves last?

Why, I think that could be a move bold enough to change the world...

To just let all that entitlement and self-righteousness be washed away with His blood.

To know that there is One who is our Righteousness, so we needn't defend our name.

To have eyes that look past the bridge of our own nose and see the real needs of others.

To have a heart of compassion towards them, because everyone is fighting a battle.

And maybe one of them, even just one, desperately needs someone to say to them today, "no, please, you first."






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