Jesus spoke with His disciples a number of time about their being wiling to take the last place, to be the servant of all. This sets up an internal battle. We don’t naturally want to be last at anything – except maybe the back pews at church! We become very steeped in “our rights”, what “we deserve”. But we are called to set aside ourselves for the needs of others. This doesn’t mean that we have a low opinion of our own worth. We are children of God for the sake of Jesus Christ. There is no higher status, and it has been given to us by pure grace. But it is a status that comes with the responsibility of service. This is not a law, but a desire and a privilege. We simply seek to extend God’s grace to other. Sometimes that means getting our hand dirty doing tasks that are unpleasant, but needed. Sometimes it simply means being honest and taking responsibility for things we’ve done wrong, and seeking to make amends. But it does mean a willingness to die a bit more to ourselves. It is in that dying that we find life in our Lord.
The next new thing has a real appeal. A new gadget comes out and people line up at the stores to get theirs. Even the next big entertainer draws massive crowds and is in the tabloid papers. But something we learn fairly quickly is that the new grows old. It has been surpassed, replaced by a better model. That once fantastic item gets put aside and forgotten. (How many old cell phones do you have sitting on a shelf somewhere?) When Israel came out of Egypt they were given manna to eat during their desert wanderings. It was renewed every morning. They couldn’t hoard it for another day. They had to trust God for each day’s provision, and they were always filled. In the midst of one of Israel’s most difficult times the Prophet Jeremiah writes, “The LORD’S lovingkindness indeed never ceases, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) Oh, we will continue to look for the new stuff that the world puts out, but what we really need never fails, never wears out, never grows old. God’s grace and loving kindness is there for free every morning.