Reverse Order

Multi-ethnic group of people standing in lineI will admit that I don’t like to stand in line. I’m not super patient about lines. When I’m at the grocery store and there are long lines, I will consider coming back later, even though it’s really only a few extra minutes to wait. I don’t like to go to Six Flags on a busy day for lots of reasons, but one of the reasons is, I don’t like standing in long lines for an hour for a 2-minute ride. What if when I got in the back of the line, I was all of a sudden put in front of everyone. First of all, that would tick a lot people off.  That’s just not how it’s done. I have just learned to look for the shortest line and I do enjoy the “self-check” places because there’s hardly ever a line.

Jesus over heard His disciples talking about who was the greatest among Jesus’ followers. I’m sure they were thinking only of themselves and the accolades that they would get one day because of their celebrity status being one of Jesus disciples. He shook up their structure of what defined greatness in His view. Check this out…

33 After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” 34 But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

36 Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.” (Mark 9:33-37 NLT)

This teaching is still a bit of a struggle even today. People who lead don’t always lead from a serving position. It’s hard to imagine a humble, servant politician. There are people who serve in their church that relish in their positions of power rather than see their position as one of great service. I’m blown away when I see a strong leader seek to serve others in the room. I love seeing a strong and powerful leader treat their team with genuine respect and honor. I believe good leaders remember where they came from and how they got their start. Good leaders remember the people who helped them along the way. Good leaders are ALWAYS standing on the shoulders of others. This teaching of Jesus reveals how the Lord’s economy operates. I shouldn’t choose the best for me, I should think of what’s best for others. I should be a door holder for others. This servant leadership starts in my home, my workplace and especially my church family. Greatness in God’s economic system is defined by humility, gratitude, meekness, serving, patience, kindness, love, grace, mercy. Greatness in not always loud, sometimes it’s really quiet and almost unnoticed, but it’s profoundly powerful. Greatness is not about a person – it’s about a position of serving in God’s economy. This is a bit of reverse order compared to what I’m used to.  I want to serve the Lord by serving others and putting them first.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Worst To First

 

set of Template  for baseball with ball and mountainsThere are some great comebacks in history. In sports there have been teams that were in last place the year before to comeback and win a championship. There are companies who were in last place among their competition and they reorganized, rebranded, intensely marketed themselves and came back from worst to first. I love a good comeback story.

Mordecai went from being a person who say nears the king’s gate (aka “gate sitter”) to second in command within a two-day period. The day that the king honored Mordecai was the same day Haman was called out for his planned destruction of the queen’s people. Haman went from first in the kings ranking to last – he was hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai. Things changed quickly. Check this out…

1 That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. 2 The king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman’s estate.

15 When Mordecai left the king’s presence, he was wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration. 16 For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. 17 In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them. (Esther 8:1-2; 15-17 NIV)

Throughout biblical history, the Lord watched over His people with great care. He did allow them to be punished. He always heard their cry for mercy and grace. He rescued them again from a young orphan girl from Susa province and her uncle. They were not royal lineage, but certainly obedient to the opportunity the Lord had put before them. There was great risk, but there was also great reward in obediently walking in faith.

I believe that as I’m walking out my faith in God, I need to worry less about my rank and keep cultivating obedience inside my heart. I need to keep steady and serve Him and let Him worry about ranking. I remember Jesus saying, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16 NIV) I need to be more concerned with His Presence in me than my position of rank among my competition.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Birth Order

 

Generations concept with people from different agesI’ve often said that I felt sort of bad for my oldest son. His mother and I did the best we could as his parents. He didn’t come with an instruction manual. Godly parents had raised us both, so we had some of the basic parenting skills that we learned from our parents. Just about any way you measure it; the first child becomes a learning experience for the parents. Fast forward many years later and my oldest is one of five kids. He grew into a godly young man and is now a parent himself. I’m so thankful for the gift of parenting; I’ve learned things about God that I’m not sure I could have learned any other way. I’m really grateful for each of my children; I’m praying that they continue seeking God’s heart the rest of their days.

King David was at the end of his life. He was making preparations for his son, Solomon to build the temple in Jerusalem. David assembled a lot of the materials lists that were needed. He also organized the Levites for service in the temple. They served in the Tabernacle (the traveling tent temple) and David was organizing things for the Temple service. Check this out…

These were the Levites, according to their families. 31 They also cast lots, just as their relatives the descendants of Aaron did, in the presence of King David and of Zadok, Ahimelek, and the heads of families of the priests and of the Levites. The families of the oldest brother were treated the same as those of the youngest. (1 Chronicles 24:30b-31 NIV)

Growing up there were a few special privileges for being the oldest son. I have an older sister so she experienced a lot of “firsts” before me. As I was reading this chapter in the Word this morning, I realized that God’s economy is not really based on birth order. The Lord’s birth order and economy is certainly different than our culture sees it.

My heart condition (aka commitment) determines my status (aka birth order) in God’s economy. My experience and my age doesn’t necessarily make me first in God’s birth order discussion. I’m very confident that the Lord looks into my heart and notices the depth of my commitment or the lack of depth.

I’m learning to seek His heart daily and simply not stress about birth order. I don’t even stress about being first in His Kingdom – I just want to be in His Kingdom. I believe that eternity is a “pass or fail” exam more than ordered by the highest passing grade or by birth order. I believe the only test for receiving eternal life is going to be from God, the Father and He will ask: “Do you know my Son?” I want to be able to say a resounding “Yes” to that one question. I want to follow Him the rest of my days here on earth and the transition into eternity will be a “piece of cake”.

Pressing On!

Dwayne