Sunday, June 22, 2008

Take the Lesser Seat

Picture a director, and a crew, and a set of actors, working together
to shoot a commercial for some product... The crew sets things up,
the actors are in place, and the director is giving the orders...
The sound guy starts recording, the camera guy starts shooting, and
the actors begin their lines...

Then one of the actors pipes up with some non-scripted line or two,
and the director yells "CUT!", the camera man stops the camera, the
sound guy stops recording, and the crew looks at this actor and then
the director, wondering what to do...

"What are you doing??!" asks the director... "Just say the lines you
are supposed to say!" The actor protests that he doesn't think the
lines are right, and that what he has to say on the product is more
compelling than the script...

How long do you think it would be, if this continued, before the
director tells the actor to get off his set and calls his aide to
find a more co-operative actor? Not long, I'm sure...


Because the COMMERCIAL is more important than this individual actor,
and there is money and time (not to mention all the people taking
part, trying to do THEIR jobs) at stake, and (as a good
director) he isn't interested in what this one actor thinks is compelling...

Christians are in much the same position: God's purposes, and the
people He calls us to serve -- even the very purpose for our own lives --
is more important than us, more important than our own
ideas of what should take place, even more important than whatever we
might be going through (good or bad) in our current circumstances...

Jesus advised His disciples to "take the lesser seat" at a banquet,
to avoid the embarrassment of being asked by the host to step down
and give up that seat to someone else... But it was much more than
avoiding embarrassment that He was trying to teach them; Jesus' focus
was always on "the Least of These", and He constantly
emphasized to them that "the Least" would be -- indeed, ARE -- the
most important in God's way of directing things...

Even as he nursed his sores and questioned God, JOB humbled himself and
acknowledged that whatever God's purposes were, those ends were
surely far more important than what he was going through, and in the end
of that story, Job was lifted up and everyone around him was put to shame
for trashing the Director's will and advising Job to think of himself...

And we can apply that same idea now, today, to everyone around us (because
God cares most about PEOPLE): My WIFE is more important than me,
my KIDS are more important than me, my Church family is more important
than me, and even what God wants to MAKE of me (for His own glorification)
is -- if we can grasp this! -- more important than the "me" that I try so
desparately to support and nuture and coddle and please...

If Jesus Himself could could be humble enough to submit to death, then surely
we ought to imitate Him and humble ourselves as well, retraining our minds
and our passions around the idea (and practice!) of considering every PERSON
we know, or encounter in our lives, and the works of Grace that God passionately
pursues in this life, as much more important than we ourselves...

No comments: