devo 3, week 2 of the GIVE UP series

Take some time to simply be still and pray. Praise God. Thank Him. Share your concerns with Him. Surrender to His mission and intentions for your life. And ask for wisdom as you read and reread through Luke 14:7–14.

Then, read and reread Luke 14:7–14.

7 He went on to tell a story to the guests around the table. Noticing how each had tried to elbow into the place of honor, he said, 8 “When someone invites you to dinner, don’t take the place of honor. Somebody more important than you might have been invited by the host. 9 Then he’ll come and call out in front of everybody, ‘You’re in the wrong place. The place of honor belongs to this man.’ Red-faced, you’ll have to make your way to the very last table, the only place left. 10 “When you’re invited to dinner, go and sit at the last place. Then when the host comes he may very well say, ‘Friend, come up to the front.’ That will give the dinner guests something to talk about! 11 What I’m saying is, If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” 12 Then he turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. 13 Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. 14 You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”

Question – are we always and only pursuing first?

I have to admit, this has been a year of my favorite teams winning the championship so far. The Saints. The Blue Devils. Maybe the Magic??? Maybe the Yankees after that??? It is weaved into the very default settings of our culture and our lives. WE MUST WIN. Be first. Be applauded. Be honored.

Nothing wrong with an “at-a-boy” from time to time. We all need and want that kind of encouragement as we do life together. But is it wrong for our motivation to be seen as number one? Is it wrong if our primary interests always getting ahead?

It is if in the process we don’t love. Jesus made it pretty clear that right and wrong are defined by what He declared as the two most important commandments – LOVE GOD and LOVE PEOPLE. Everything else hinges on whether we love or don’t love. So, if we are too busy trying to get in front of everyone else, then we are not loving.

Kind of like when Caleb and Katey walk ahead of us on walks thru the neighborhood. One always has to get ahead, and it often comes at the woundedness of the other (literally sometimes).

“Elbowing into the place of honor.”

Where this especially gets hard in our lives, this putting the interests of others above our own, is in two specific places. With our jobs and with our kids.

Here’s a tough question – do you work to get ahead or to have the chance to love? Do you work to get more or to give more? If you follow Jesus, then even life in the marketplace has to reflect His ways. How might that impact your interests and focus there?

Here’s another tough question – do you want to teach your kids that excelling no matter the cost is their primary goal? When they encounter others, is their 1st thought to pursue first or to pursue last? Would they lose out on anything by putting others’ interests above their own? Would you and I lose out on anything by challenging them to work hard but to love harder?

Pursuing LAST doesn’t sound very American Dreamish. But it might be Christ-like.

11 “What I’m saying is, If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”

Is Jesus enough? Do we actually trust what the Scriptures say:

11 The greatest among you must be a servant. 12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:11–12)

ACTION STEPS:

  • PRAY_Lord, help us to want to share in eternal life because You are there and because we want to share what You have graciously given with others. Help us to be willing to give up our own interests. Help us to live secure, knowing that we are not missing out on a thing when we leave everything to follow You, assured that You are enough.
  • LIVE_12 Then he turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. 13 Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. 14 You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”

Love you guys. Look forwarding to worshipping with you in the morning and continuing the GIVE UP series, focusing on “GIVE UP VICES_change our hunger.”

-jason

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