The Thrill of Second Place
Bible Reading: Romans 12:9-13
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10
You’re standing in the lunch line at school, wondering what’s left to eat. Not only are you assigned to eat during the last lunch period of the day, but today you’re last of the last, kept late by your teacher after you made some serious mistakes on your weekly spelling test.
By the time you get to eat lunch, the pickings are often slim. Sure enough, as you scan the food in front of you, the desserts look especially sad. Though there are stacks of nut-filled brownies, just one nutless brownie remains.
There’s a problem. You really hate nuts.
There’s an even bigger problem. You’re not exactly last in line.
Behind you is a classmate, Patrick, who reeeeallly hates nuts in his brownies. In fact, he’s allergic. If he eats even a sliver of nut his throat swells shut, his face turns purple, and his eyes roll to the back of his head.
That’s not your problem. You just like nut-free brownies. So what do you do?
____ Drop your fork. As the fork clanks on the floor, grab the non-nut brownie and make your break.
____ Whine at the cooks. Tell them you’re perfectly willing to wait in the lunchroom all afternoon for more plain brownies.
____ Poke Patrick’s belly button, giggle, and tell him he needs to go on a diet anyway.
____ Say, “I want you to have that last nut-free brownie, Patrick. Enjoy!”
Was that last choice hard to swallow? Did you feel a twinge of pain at the thought of giving up a dessert that had your name on it? Maybe that choice didn’t bother you, but there are probably other times you’ve hesitated to give up something you wanted in order to put someone else first.
Being a servant doesn’t always mean picking the worst. But it for sure doesn’t mean always hogging the best, especially when our choice might hurt someone else. God wants to transform our thinking to be like Christ’s, who put us first by giving his life for us. God calls us to display the same attitude toward people around us. It’s called honoring each other. God is pleased when we choose to honor others above ourselves like Jesus did.
TALK: When have you struggled to honor others? How does it help to know that God honors you?
PRAY: God, when we see something we want, we struggle to keep others in mind. Help us to honor others like you have honored us.
ACT: Take this triple dare: Find three ways today to put others’ interests before your own.