So I have just finished up a week about judgement and I am now moving on to a week devoted to serving others. If you think about it, these really go hand in hand. When you are judgemental of others, you are thinking of all of the ways you are better than the other person. When you refuse to live your life in service to others, you are thinking of all the things you deserve more than other people. Usually, the people we see as overly-judgemental are criticized as "acting all high and mighty."
Jesus was and is the The Most High, God Almighty-- and he lived a life fully out of service to others. The key verse for tonight is Matthew 23:12- "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
I personally struggle alot with my own desire to be great. Maybe it's a first-born thing, I don't really know. But what I do know is that I am a perfectionist. (And let me tell you, it is the bane of my existance, being as I am so far from perfect!)
I've always wanted to be the smartest. I wanted to be the teacher's favorite. I wanted to be the spelling bee champ. (I wasn't, by the way. I got second because I mis-spelled the word 'bouillon.' And I still can't get it right. I just had to look it up on google to make sure I got it correctly this time!) I had to be on the Honor Roll all the time. I didn't get my first B until high school in Geography. (That's when I found out I am not very good at locating things on a map. Ask my husband about how long I thought Idaho was in the midwest. Oy!) My second B was the following semester in Geometry. (I guess the 'geo's' don't agree with me...) I arranged my entire schedule in high school in order to accumulate the maximum amount of grade points to boost my rank and graduated 6th in the class. Little did I know my rank would earn me minimal scholarships and I would have to get used to being merely an 'average' student in college. Occasionally, I will still act like a know-it-all. But just between you and me, I don't know anything. :)
I've always wanted to be the most elite. Drill team captain, head cheerleader, lead in a musical, leader of a youth group, first chair in the band, A Team volleyball and basketball, select leagues for basketball and softball, competetive cheerleading...I still can't believe my parents agreed to let me do all of these activities. How did we not all pass out from exhaustion? How did we afford to eat?! And of all of those hours and dollars that were spent on developing skills for this, that, and the other, which of these do I continue to do now? NONE OF THEM! I don't even know where my dusty old trophies are stashed. Mom, do we even still have them or are they in a dumpster somewhere?
I have always wanted to be the most well-liked. Wittiest, most congenial, homecoming court nominee...these were all titles that I lived for. And I still really want people to like me. Not that it is a bad thing to want to be well-liked. But it can be a bad thing to want to be the MOST well-liked. I remember in grade school my best friend lived right accross the street from me and her name was Rachael. We spent practically every spare minute together, as most best friends do. But Rachael also had a really close friend named Ashlee. And while I liked Ashlee, I always felt threatened that she would take Rachael away from me. I guess she felt that way too, because one day as the three of us were walking home from school, Ashlee and I got in an argument about who Rachael liked more. She called me the B-word. I hit her in the face, pushed her to the ground, and kicked her. It was my first and only fight...and it was all over who was the nicest. (lol)
The truth is, I have always wanted to be the best. Blame it on my birth order, genetics, society, personality traits, the American Dream, or whatever you want, but I want to succeed. And when you are so set on becoming successful, you hardly bother to think about serving others. Thankfully, motherhood has humbled me a lot. So has marriage. So has the maturity that comes with age. And so has my faith. But I still have a long way to go, and I know that (because I know everything, remember?!)
But what I really DO know is this: I can work my butt off for myself to be exalted by men. Or I can work my butt off for others to be exalted by God. I think I will point my efforts toward trying to acheive the latter!