Wednesday, October 01, 2014

I am second?

You may have seen those videos going around Facebook from people saying, "I am second". If you haven't, from the two or three that I've watched over the course of my life, they are talking about prioritizing God and others. But really, we are not "second"... we are far further than the list than "second". I was reading Romans 12 in light of the end of Romans 11 this evening...
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
As I read this passage, I see that we are to present ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice. This moves us down to 2nd because we are living for God. Then we read on, we are told not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. Reading on, we see that we are given gifts to be used to serve others. In fact, it seems to imply (and we know from Philippians 2:3) that we are not actually second, we are actually last! We are to give preference to one another, we are to serve the Lord as we serve others. We are to rejoice... not just for our own reasons, but to celebrate with others and share in their joys. We are to weep with those that weep... to put aside ourselves for their benefit. Lest we think that we are not actually called to be "last", we are even told to give food and drink to our enemies and be good to them.

Jesus showed by His example and then told His disciples in Matthew 23:11 that the greatest in the Kingdom will be the servant of all. May God give us grace to put ourselves aside... to put aside the ever pressing desire to be "first", and give us hearts to put Him in first place and everyone else before ourselves for His glory. May He give us true hearts of greatness!