By Wendy Pope
“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matthew 20:16 (NIV)
I find it easy to send clothes, money, food, and other necessities to those in need, but struggle with the serious sickness of a selfish spirit. The very idea of being last is not something I have wanted to embrace much less put to practice. After all don’t I deserve some simple pleasures in life? I work hard at my job. I take good care of my family. They are always fed, and most the time the meal is fairly nutritious. Everyone sleeps in bed with sheets that are clean and wake up to clean clothes to wear each day. So why shouldn’t I have a few simple pleasures in life that I can call my own, like licking the chocolate syrup off the spoon. Let me explain.
With two children in the house I often have the opportunity to come last. A tradition in my life since I was young girl is making chocolate milk with Hershey’sÔ syrup. The highlight of the experience is licking the chocolate off the spoon when the milk is mixed. This is a pleasure that I had managed to keep to myself until about six months ago. My six-year-old observed me enjoying the delightfully sweet treat after mixing his milk one day. Since my secret pleasure has been revealed, I rarely get to enjoy the treat.
One particular day when I had been the hands and feet of Jesus to many people, served faithfully in every area of my responsibilities, I wanted a treat. No, I knew I deserved a treat! Then it happened—my son asked to lick the spoon. I wish I could say that with the love of Jesus, I handed him the spoon, but I stood there in a mental argument with the Lord reminding Him of all the great things I had done that day. In a silent pause, I was reminded that I was here to serve not to be served, so I handed the spoon to my son.
Laying down what you think you deserve is difficult. Putting others needs and wants in front of your own does not come naturally. It requires a minute-by-minute reliance on the Holy Spirit to enable you to live beyond yourself.
No matter what season of life you are currently in, someone will inevitably ask to lick the chocolate off your spoon, the very pleasure you believe you deserve. Let me encourage you to live beyond yourself in that moment and hand them the spoon. The blessing you give will come back to you ten-fold. Do you know how I can make that statement? I can because I have lived this truth. After I gave my son the spoon, I remembered that I could dip the spoon right in the can to get as much syrup as I wanted and I did.
Lord, I understand that by nature I have a selfish spirit. It is my desire to live outside of that nature and to live in Your nature, a nature of gentleness and kindness. Help me to do this today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Devotional forwarded to you by:
UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT
NCCP Ecumenical Ministry of the Church of the Risen Lord
University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC