“If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
~ MARK 9:35
The Ingredient of a Great Day
We regularly face subtle yet significant decisions, all of which fall under the category of who comes first: do they or do I?
When the parent chooses the best school for the children over a career-advancing transfer.
When the student eats lunch with the neglected kids rather than the cool ones.
When the grown daughter spends her days off with her aging mother at the dementia unit.
When you turn away from personal dreams for the sake of others, you are, in Christ’s words, denying yourself.
“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24 NLT).
Behold the most surprising ingredient of a great day: self-denial.
Don’t we assume just the opposite? Great days emerge from the soil of self-indulgence, self-expression, and self-celebration. So pamper yourself, indulge yourself, promote yourself. But deny yourself? When was the last time you read this ad copy: “Go ahead. Deny yourself and have the time of your life!”?
Jesus could have written the words. He often goes counter-cultural, calling us down rather than up, telling us to zig when society says to zag.
In his economy the least are the greatest (Luke 9:48); the last will be first (Mark 9:35); the chosen seats are the forgotten seats (Luke 14:8–9). He tells us to honor others above ourselves (Romans 12:10); and consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).
— EVERY DAY DESERVES A CHANCE
O Lord, your Word teaches us to deny ourselves. But our natural tendency is to indulge ourselves, to seek our own interests rather than the interests of others. We know this does not please you, for you have taught us that the least are the greatest and the last will be first. When we have opportunities to make a decision about who comes first, fill our hearts with a sacrificial love that will choose to put others first, amen.
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.
~ ROMANS 12:10
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
~ PHILIPPIANS 2:3