Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Ever feel humiliated? Maybe that’s a good thing. Jesus would have us be last, that is putting others first in our lives, than first in line to receive the best and most. The first requirement is to put Him first and above all else. Then, when we are in right standing with Him, we can draw others to Him through our humble attitude and behavior.


He who is first

One winter when I put corn out for the deer each day, I would wait to see who came first. Usually it was a huge doe with last spring’s fawn. They ate leisurely, unless the “three sisters” came to feed. Then Mama would stomp her front feet or kick her back legs or shove the sisters away, fighting for the right of her baby and herself to finish eating. It usually took some time, as the three deer persisted in trying to jockey into first position before running into the woods to wait until Mama and Baby were finished. Later, after the three took their turn, a lone doe or young buck would show up to eat. Occasionally a large, older buck appeared, causing all others to scatter.

Following the deer were red squirrels, which chased the blue jays away. But the smaller critters even tried to horn in around the hooves of the deer when they could get by with it.

I enjoyed watching this scenario play out, because the antics of wild critters mirror those of us humans sometimes—always trying to be first or best or prettiest, always trying to get the most.

Jesus, aware of this human character flaw, tried to teach His disciples lessons about being the last instead of the first, showing humility and unselfishness. Jesus’ example of washing the disciples’ feet is one of the best illustrations of humility and service. Other examples include Jesus’ commands about going the extra mile for someone in need, loving our enemies, and blessing our persecutors.

One day His disciples had a dispute over which one would be the greatest in God’s Kingdom. Jesus set a little child next to Him and told the disciples, “Whoever receives this little child in My name receives me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.” (Luke 9:48)

In God’s kingdom we don’t have to jockey for first position, like the wild critters do, because even the “least” of His followers is great by God’s kingdom standards. That means someone who is unkempt in appearance, poor in material wealth, or different in behavior is as important to God as anyone else. Now, that’s a sobering thought we should consider every time we’re tempted to think too highly of ourselves or to judge others.

Lord, may I never jockey for an exalted position in Your Kingdom, in this life or in the next. In the name of Jesus, our humble King. Amen.

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