I’m #1!

wordswag_1495539299748.pngThe little girl pointed out her watercolor painting to me. The effort will not ever hang in a national gallery, I’m sure, but it was her work. A person who believes that she is a person of worth will almost always live a better life and develop healthier relationships. She will work harder at improving themselves and generally make the kind of decisions that preserve her sense of well-being. Nothing touches any of us more deeply than knowing we are loved! We all like to feel like we matter, that our work is noted. You may say otherwise, but a note of appreciation for a job well done is never unwelcome.  Awards for good performance, recognition for superior effort – these are things that matter to us, and rightly so. Self-esteem is a necessary part of a healthy person’s psyche.

Then, there is this – pride.  As with everything in life, the good gets mutilated by sin. Self-esteem morphs into an ugly parody marked by arrogance, pride, and competition. Jesus called out his disciples on it.  They came to Capernaum. When he was safe at home, he asked them, “What were you discussing on the road?” The silence was deafening—they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest.” (Mark 9:33-34, The Message) It really isn’t that hard to imagine, is it? These grown men, chests puffed out, and pride on full display were fighting with each other to claim the #1 spot.  What did Jesus say? He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.” (Mark 9:35-37, NLT)

A servant, greatest of all? His words must have confused them, as they often do us. We tend to ignore servers, don’t we? Those who do those ordinary tasks that make life work tend to be overlooked and forgotten until the moment they are no longer there. I confess that when I dine out and the person serving my table does a good job, getting the order right, making sure the food shows up hot, keeping the beverage glasses full I do not think much about it (I am a good tipper!). But when a server is inattentive, messes up things, and makes dinner less enjoyable, I notice!  It is so refreshing to find someone who really delights in their work, who does what they do because they just want to do a good job, isn’t it?  They are not fishing for compliments, making sure to drop the right remarks to get noticed, or polishing their resume. They just work, whole-heartedly, at their task because they have an internal sense of what’s right.

How do you serve Christ, Christian?
Do you serve from a healthy sense of self-esteem, knowing that you are a child of God, a person of great worth in His sight?
Or, are you governed by pride, measuring your standing, making sure to get noticed, and quick to offense when you feel overlooked?

Pray to know the love of God, profound, deep, and lasting. When we are loved, John says, we learn to love.  Let that be true in your life. God does not expect you or me to anyone other than who He made us to be. He does not ask us to be #1, the best, or just like someone else. He invites us to be exactly who He created us to be, to use our gifts and callings in the best way possible, faithfully, and for His glory. I pray to be more like that little girl who showed me her painting without any sense of self-consciousness. She did not compare herself to a great master, she just owned her work as a joyful expression of her personality.  God, help us to do the same.

The word from the Word today is lengthy, a complete thought about finding our place in this world. As you read it, may the Spirit guide you to know the Father’s desire for you and lead you to a place of service where you find joy and fulfillment.
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.

 And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” (Colossians 3:12-17, The Message)


How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

 I will not boast in anything
No gifts no pow’r no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Stuart Townend © 1995 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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