I'm First!

October 21, 2011
by Robert Barlow

Mark 10:35a,37 – Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said … "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory." (NIV)

Don't you just hate them? I mean, really? Who do they think they are anyway? We have all been there when someone pushes themselves to the front of what is happening and declares to everyone else, "I can do it better than the rest of you all combined!"

When something like this happens, we might say to ourselves (or if we have the nerve, out loud), "They are rude and unnerving," but let it go. On the other hand, we might rather be like Jesus' disciples:

Luke 9:54 – When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" (NIV)

There are those times. "God, they're getting in the way! Do something!"

There is another scenario where people think themselves as more important. One day at the grocery store, there were a lot of people shopping the first day of the flyers. The store was packed. Most of the carts were being used, which also meant that there was a back-up at the cash. So I cruised around for a few more minutes, and things started to clear. By the time I arrived back at the front of the store, there were only three people in line at each checkout. At this store, I try to think ahead so I can get out as quickly as possible. Instead of just standing there, I decided to leave my cart in the line, go past the checkout, and get a couple of boxes to put the groceries in. While I was gone, someone pushed in ahead of my cart. Yes, there she was, looking all around, but not at me. I presume that she realized it wasn't a good idea, because she backed off and resumed her previous position.

I wonder how it looks, looking down from God's perspective. Don't we sometimes put ourselves first, in God's place? Maybe I'm the problem. Maybe I get in God's way. Someone said, "The difference between where I am with the Lord and where I should be is the difference between the God I want and the God who is."

He wants to do something in this world, in our lives, and in our hearts, and we get in the way. We push Him aside and take control. I wonder if He thinks about calling down fire. … No, probably not. After all, He loves us. A number of months ago, I read something that keeps coming to the front of my mind: we are part of God's history. Yes, we think of ourselves as moving and contributing to history: the history of our country, our family, our church. But really, it's God's history, and we are part of it. Let's take our place and let God do the rest. Let's get in line and be ready when He calls. He will.

Prayer: Lord, please deal with the self-will that rises up within us to push ourselves forward, to be the first, to be the best, when You are really first and best. Give us the grace to see ourselves as part of Your wise and loving plan for our lives. Amen.

About the author:

Robert Barlow <barlowrw@yahoo.com>
Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada

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