"Jesus called them together and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.'" (Matthew 20:25-28, NIV)
“I call shotgun!”
Those three words are a battle cry in our house. It's all fun and games until it's a knock-down, drag-out fight to the passenger-side door.
I'm sure they've always been competitive, but the 'tween and teen years seem to have intensified it. The youngest, especially, is determined to win every war he wages. He feels particularly hard-done by his age, feeling the daily slights of being smaller, weaker, younger. And it's not merely a matter of always coming in last.
He wants to win.
I get it, of course, and I'm sure you do, too. Maybe it's the mark of having an apostolic nature, pioneers and sojourners in a land not our own. When we're not waiting in queues or traffic, on landlords or bureaucrats, we're leading the charge. We've been called out, sent out, and surely we're up to the task.
And yet, more often than not, I feel Jesus telling me, "Not so fast…" I've felt the burden to step back, hang back, hold back. I've seen others lead the way and wished them luck when they've set off. In those times, I feel small, weak, young, hard-done. My smile masks my meekness and I cry a bit to God in my heart and ask, "When will it be my turn?"
And He replies, "Hang back with Me awhile."
He shows me the way of the cross, how it's oh-so-slow going. How feet take time and tenderness to wash. How life with Him isn't so much a race as it is a walkabout. He reminds me how He lifts up the heads and hearts of those who are low and crushed. He declares the words from Matthew 5; the words I know by heart and pray—not for myself, but for those around me.
Blessed are…the poor, the mourners, the meek, the hungry for justice, the merciful, the pure, the peacemakers…They are the children of God.
This "last shall be first" bit? He calls it the Great Reversal. In a kingdom of fast, wealthy and raging injustice, I'm okay waiting around for that other Kingdom: the upside-down one.
Walking with you,
"He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty." (Luke 1:52-53, NIV)
Are you "lagging behind" these days? Meditate on and write down the benefits of walking closely (and slowly) with Jesus in this time.
Read Mary’s Song and consider how you can you lift up, come alongside and love "the least of these."