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Sunday, January 26, 2014

(40 Days of Focus) Day 22: "When It's OK to be First"



Read: But that's not the way it's going to be among you. Whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant. Whoever wants to be most important among you will be a slave for everyone” (Mark 10:43-44, GW).
Think About It: The conditions are rarely preferable when he uses the abilities God has given him to impact the unsuspecting around him. Most do not notice who he is, what he does, or that he’s even doing it. “Thank-you’s” are minimal outside the circle of people who are familiar with the workload he undertakes, and frankly, he’s more than content to keep it that way. What he does, it matters. It matters to more people than they realize. What he does matters to his church. Most importantly, it matters to God. He ministers to others through the expertise God has inspired his hands to accomplish. Whatever he touches is done so with the fingerprints of God as he does it for the sake of others. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever see him on a Sunday morning giving a sermon. It is further improbable that you’d hear him singing a solo. But what he has found, is that he is gifted by the same God who gives gifts, skills, and talents to all those created in His image, to partner with others for the benefit of others. What he does makes a difference.

Going Deeper: The culture you live in today, though as different as night and day in regards to years gone by, is held by a thread of commonality with cultures of long ago. Leadership and authority has “forever” been seen as a form of status, a means of value and importance, and a manner of ruling over people, rather than partnering with those same people. Jesus addressed this issue within His own circle of influence, as two of His followers inquired about being His “top two.” In their defense, this is the example that had been set by those that ruled them, in both religion and politics. They had learned from the model that taught, “to be the greatest, you must see everyone else as the least.” Jesus’s admonition to them was not only different, but it would be a life-altering paradigm that would impact generations to come. The greatest among them, Jesus shared, would be those who saw the greatest needs in the lives of others, and endeavored to serve them. If it were about “them,” it would never be about “Him.” It is only when you are secure enough in Him to know that it’s not all about you, that you begin to lead in the greatness that always points back to Jesus.

Next Step: It is a common temptation to want to do something so that you can receive either the credit, or just an “old-fashioned” thank-you. Everyone needs encouragement and wants to feel appreciated, and you are no different. Be encouraged, however, to do what God has either equipped you for or given you opportunity to do. Learn to lean into Him for the encouragement. It will be much longer-lasting. Look around your church or community you are involved in. Identify something that needs done that is more “behind the scenes.” What can you do that no one might notice, but you know that it makes a difference? Do it. God notices. Jesus came to serve, and what an example He gave for us to follow!

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