I once heard a pastor who jokingly said, “Hurry up and get a back seat, because soon they’ll all be gone.” In contrast, one fashion designer went on record as saying that if you don’t sit in the first three rows of an event, you might as well stay home.
The front row is a coveted spot for many people, and they would give their eye-teeth to be there. If you have any doubts about this, think about Black Friday crowds, or that anoying parking lot that you dread, where you can’t find an empty space. If only you had arrived earlier and taken that front-row spot!
Today, though, I want to talk about what I call the lifestyle of sitting. If true service is to be our goal, we can’t limit what I am saying to seating. Instead, all of us need to adopt a front-row mentality.
Let me put it this way. Picture yourself in a very busy place, like a concert or a grocery store. When you do this exercise, I think you’ll agree that there’s nowhere that impatience manifests itself more clearly than in a crowd.
“But why is that?” you might ask. The truth is that as much as you and I may not like it, we need to take a look at ourselves in order to answer this question. In other words, we need to go from the general to the specific, and narrow these thoughts down even further.
If we are honest, all of us have longed for something in our lives that we couldn’t quite grasp. We might almost reach it, but then it floats away from our fingers and dangles in front of us like a carrot, tantalizing us.
I am ashamed to say that when I was younger, I often saw other people as a means of getting ahead. After I went through a cataclysmic surgery, I finally started thinking about how I saw the world. But it’s no stretch to say that until that time, the crowd of my dreams continued to push me. When circumstances made me stop and really take a look at my life, I discovered that I was in for some unpleasant surprises.
I was unable to get out of my chair during my recovery, and the things I once took for granted were put on hold for about 3 months. I don’t mind telling you that I got sick of watching “Little House on the Prairie” reruns. I know, however, that God used this time to get through to me, and even now He continues to deal with me about many subjects. Let me share one of them with you.
Like many of us, I only had head knowledge about God’s kingdom, having read that the first would be last. I wondered, “What exactly does that mean in the 22nd century?”
While I am still constantly learning, truths began to unfold as I sought God’s will and His answers about matters in my everyday life. For example, I began to discover with new eyes how sinful my heart really was. I wanted the glory for what had been done in my life, instead of giving the credit to God. If wanting to be first was primarily a matter of heart trouble, I needed to confess this to God, and change the direction of my life.
I discovered that being last wasn’t so bad after all. In fact, it actually has some perks. To me, it has come to mean being able to serve others, and helping those who are often overlooked in our world.
One of my heroes in the New Testament has opened my eyes to this, so let’s discuss what I’ve learned as we ponder the story of Mary and Martha together. In scripture, we see Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus, whether it was stormy or sunny. It was that way when Martha wanted everything to be meticulous for a dinner she prepared for Jesus.
I was shocked when I learned that I could be like Mary, once Jesus slowed me down. I encourage you to let Him do the same for you, as He wants to prepare us all for service.
Instead of sitting in a living-room chair, though, God invites all of us to sit at His feet as Mary did. We can do this today by finding some quiet time, and really getting to know Him. As with any friend, we will learn about God in a deeper way as we bask in His presence. Discovering more about His unlimited riches spiritually will make all the physical concerns that seem so important now start to pale in comparison to everything God offers us.
Besides conforming us into His image, this change in perspective transforms us by changing our desires. So rather than trying to get ahead and make your mark in the world, consider the marks which He bore. Adopt a lifestyle of sitting at His feet now, and you will be able to stand strong in the battle of life.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
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