Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Don't Pass Me!

If you have kids, chances are you've learned some profound lessons from their childish and selfish behavior. In fact, the more you watch young children interact, you'll likely pick up on the fact that it's not too dissimilar from adults.

All this week on our trip to Charleston, S.C., there's a phrase I've heard my 4-year old shriek more often than Amy and I belting out the words "NO!" or "Stop that!" It's just three seemingly insignificant words, but uttered like the most menacing villain to ever walk the earth: "DON'T PASS ME!"

You see, Chandler is a natural leader. Just ask him. Or, better yet, try to walk in front of him. He will take you down. He wants to be in front. The problem is, so does his 8-year old brother. So, about 20 times each day, Amy and I have to threaten our boys to within inches of their lives - all because they both want to be FIRST.

We've tried to explain the whole Biblical notion of "He who is first is last in the Kingdom of God, and he who is the least is the greatest" (etc.), but the impact of those words doesn't pack as much punch with two young, hyperactive male siblings as it would with a meek and reasonable person later on their years.

But, what I've witnessed with my two boys isn't much different than how I catch myself thinking and acting. You can probably relate. You see, when I see people "pass" me - whether it's intellectually, financially, in wisdom, manner, respect (anything, really), it gets my attention. And, by that, I mean that it often will get in my craw. I'll wonder how they got ahead of me. I'll think, "What do they have that I don't?" Or, I'll just come up with rationalizations to explain the situation just to make myself feel better.

None of us likes to be passed. We want to be in front. We want the best view. The top rung on the ladder. The top notch on the totem pole. When we aren't out in front, we become insecure, and many times we'll do whatever it takes to get back in "the lead" - no matter the cost to ourselves and those who love us the most.

In the end, we've got to use the correct standard by which we should measure ourselves, and worry less about where others stand.
When we seek to serve, and to take the back seat, and to allow people to pass us - we see things much differently. And, we can rest assured that the eternal rewards we'll earn for putting others first will far surpass the fleeting ones we devour in this life.

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