Sunday, November 11, 2007

Me First?

Once upon a time long ago and far away there were two look-alike boys (twins). They always wanted the same thing at the same time. They especially seemed to want whatever the other one had or was playing with. Thus they got into many fights!

Finally their parents decided that they would always have the same toys - no more variety unless both had one. If one had a truck, the other did too. If one had a ball, the other did too. And so it went, but they still fought over what each had. They wanted the other boy's toy instead of their own.

You see, the problem was that each one always wanted to be first and have the best and usually have whatever the other one was playing with. So they still got into many fights resulting in many, many broken toys.

One day their father decreed that each of his boys would have his own color. Everything that son had must be either red or blue as the color was assigned. But the problem would never be solved by assigning colors. The problem was in each boy's heart!

Finally, enough was enough! So all the toys were cleared from their room. Each boy was seated at opposite ends of the room facing a wall, and they were left alone. As time went by, each boy started thinking about how he had acted. Eventually they began to talk. One said, "I was wrong to take your toy truck. I should have played with my own." The other said, "If I had a ball, I would ask you to play catch with me."

And as time went by, they moved their chairs right next to each other so they could talk better. After a long while, their father and mother opened the door and left a big basket in the middle of the room. The basket contained all the blue toys and all the red toys jumbled together, and the mother and father quietly closed the door again.

Then after a longer time the mother and father returned and opened the door. What an amazing sight they saw! The boys had connected all the parts of their train track and hooked up a VERY long train - red car, blue car, red car, blue car and so on. They were pushing the train back and forth to each other around the track.

When Mom and Dad got over their surprise, Dad said, "See, boys, when you try to keep everything for yourself and grab things away from your brother and always want only your own way - you have two times the trouble and absolutely no fun!" And the two look-alike boys knew Dad was right so they played happily ever after and never grabbed each other's toys again - well, almost never! The boys learned the “me first lesson!"

Does “Mr. Me First” live in your heart? Do you ever want to push ahead of someone else in line? Do you ever interrupt when someone else is talking? Do you ever grab a toy away from someone else? Well, any of those things and many more are things “Mr. Me First” does.

I’m sorry to say that “Mr. Me First” sometimes lives in my heart. I sometimes want to be front and center. I sometimes want my way over someone else’s. I sometimes interrupt when someone else is talking. Do you?

This "me first syndrome" is pandemic in our culture. We all want "my space" to be the most important space. We want "my way" all the time."

In Luke 9:46 – 50 Jesus’ main men show that “Mr. Me First” lives in their hearts. Here’s what happened: They all wanted to be first. They all wanted to be the most important main man to Jesus. They wanted “me first” !

They didn’t just think about being “me first.” They started fighting with words about which one of them was “first” – the most important. They must have had their fight “off camera” where Jesus couldn’t hear. Perhaps that means they knew what they were fighting about was wrong.

The Bible says that Jesus knew what they were thinking. Jesus knows what we are thinking, too. We can’t fool Jesus, and they didn’t fool Jesus either.

Jesus found a little child nearby. Jesus put his arm around the kid and told His main men (something like this), “Here is the deal, guys. See this kid. He is a very special person! In fact, he just might be more special than any one of you. Get this - when you value other people – even little kids - then you start leaning to love and value Me (Jesus.)”

Then Jesus went on, “And anyone who treats me special and loves me will also love My Father in heaven (God the Father).”

Then Jesus said the most important thing of all. He said (something like this), “If you want to be #1 then you have to be willing to be at the back of the line. You must think of other people before you think of yourself. You need to let people go ahead in line, be first, be #1. You need to learn to be willing to come along behind.” That's what Jesus told His main men. That's what JEses wants us to do, too.

Remember: Jesus wants to be #1 all the time! He is the ONLY ONE who really has the right to be "Mr. First" ! When Jesus is the "Mr. First" who lives in my heart, then I will love others and think of them. Jesus will be first in my heart and then other people will come next before me. That's the order of priority in a restored heart: Jesus first, others second, myself last.

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