Many of you have seen or heard of the "I am Second" campaign. If you haven't you should check it out at iamsecond.com. It takes people who are famous and / or just normal and lets them tell the story of why God is first in their life and why they are "second". It's well done and I'm sure God is using it to bring many to himself.
However, this morning I'm struggling with not what it means to be second, but what it means to be last. I'm reading, meditating and studying the gospels this year in my personal worship time. Over the last couple of days in my readings, Jesus has been talking about sacrifice and if you want to be first you must be the servant of all. Jesus says he didn't come to "be served but to serve and to give his life".
I have a huge problem with all of this, my bent is not to serve but to be served. I love it when people take care of me. I don't like to sacrifice and be last. I don't even like waiting in lines. But Jesus clearly says "many who are first will be last, and the last first".
So how in the world do I reconcile my natural desire for supremacy with the clear teachings of Jesus? Who I am and what he teaches seems to be separated by this uncrossable canyon.
One option is to try harder. That's right, today as I go on my merry way I'll just decide that I'm going to be more intentional about serving others. I'll be more disciplined in my thought process and I'll stop thinking of myself more highly than I should.
Sure, that may be part of the answer but my experience has been that my effort always results into sliding back into the same selfish patterns. Here's what's really cool about the teachings of Jesus. If he teaches something he automatically provides the ability live it out.
Paul says there's a mystery, it's Christ in us. Jesus does in us what we cannot do ourselves. So this morning, by God's grace, I'm starting a "I Am Last" campaign." You won't see me on any billboards (although that would be kind of cool). Here's what I'm going to do in response to what God has been teaching me the last couple of days.
1. Repent - this isn't a very popular word today, but it's God's way of ushering us back into deeper intimacy with him. Self centeredness is sin. My only response can be to agree with him that I'm disobedience and ask for forgiveness.
2. Ask for Grace - To be last it's going to require the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit.
3. Look for opportunity - I want to look for opportunities this week to serve others, secretly. Are there ways I can serve those around me without them knowing I did it? Sometimes by serving we still end up with selfishness, and yes, I'm that screwed up. Secret service may deal a death blow to my flesh. Who is going to praise me for being such a great servant if only Jesus and I know who is doing it?
So, over the next couple of days if you think about me pray for me and I will you. What would happen if followers of Jesus everywhere followed his example of washing the feet of those around us? It would bring him great glory.