Friday, November 21, 2008

Matthew 23:11-12 (NKJV)

Matthew 23:11-12 (NKJV)-“But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Jesus was speaking this to the scribes and the Pharisees of His day. He was teaching the multitudes and His disciples that the religious leaders of their day were not all that and a bag of chips.

We like getting attention don’t we? We like it when someone notices something we’ve done, or acknowledges that we went out of our way, don’t we?

Even if we tell ourselves that we shouldn’t seek the accolades of other people, we do it anyway. On some level, we WANT those around us to notice us and tell us, “Thanks for doing that! You did a great job!”

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: we want mercy for ourselves and justice for everyone else.

We want others to pat us on the back. However, how often do we remember to turn the favor around and do that for someone else? How often do we tell those around us that we appreciate something they did for us?

How about someone in your family?

I don’t think this is more apparent anywhere than in our social groupings of family, whether they are close or extended. We expect everyone in our family to cater to us at times, but far be it from me to serve someone.

At work, you run around and do things and perform to the best of your abilities. Why? Ever hear of a little thing called a MERIT raise or a PERFORMANCE bonus? See, the world has conditioned us to raise the bar for our own standards, so that we can get more money out of it.

The more I work, the better I work, the more my raise will be; the bigger my end of the year bonus. You want that job? You’ve got to show your boss that you want it more than the other people in your department/division/group. You’ve got to perform! And the more people who see how well you perform, the better off you are in your workplace.

Jesus was radical. He suggested a different way. He says that if we want to get exaltation, we should submit ourselves not only to those perceived to be “above” us, but those who are on the same level as we are, and those “below” us.

Jesus wants us to follow a different standard; one that puts the needs of others out in front of our own. It’s a different way of doing life, and sometimes it stinks.

Come on; don’t look at this like I just wrote out the mother of all curse words there. You know in your heart of hearts that I’m telling the truth. We all do it. You are not gonna leave me alone to dangle in the wind on this one!

When we do stuff, we want to be acknowledged. Even if it’s just a pat on the back in affirmation, it helps. I want to know that my sacrifice has been noticed and accepted.

The only problem, in my opinion, is that the ultimate sacrifice has already been made. Nothing I do can even come close to that!

I realize, as usual, there are some of you that don’t wrassle with the same issues that I do, and I accept you in your perfection. Please don’t waste your time with correcting me and reminding me of how far I need to go in my Christian walk. I only hope that you can continue to be patient as God works out his righteousness through my life.

I need to remember that I am not the only person who feels the way I do. So, when I feel slighted when no one notices something I did, I need to step back and assess the situation. Am I upset because no one patted me on the head and gave me a treat because I performed a trick? Or am I hurt that my actions were noticed and obtained a rebuke or harsh word because I didn’t do it the way someone thought I should have?

If it’s the first part, I need to step back and ask myself, “Am I good at encouraging others? When was the last time I gave someone an uplifting word for something they did for me?”

If it’s the second, I also need to take a gander at my life as well. Only this time, I need to see how scathing a beat down I gave someone because they did something I didn’t ask them to in order to help me, and they did it in a completely different way than I would have.

Did I thank them for their effort, or did I chastise them because they obviously didn’t pay attention to what they were doing? Did I exalt their servant’s heart, or berate their lack of attention to detail?

It’s interesting how things look when compared in the lens of our own experiences. I want to believe that I do everything that I complain about everyone else not doing. I want to believe that everyone is just not as perfected as I am now. I want to believe….

Oh, hi Jesus. You want to talk to me? Umm, how did I get myself up on this pedestal like this? Uh oh, this could be bad…..

Be blessed in the Lord today.

Bo J.

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