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No, After You

Posted on May 26, 2014 by Karen Ehman There have been 0 comments

Karen Ehman

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13 (NIV)

"I call shotgun, Mama Karen!" the strapping teen yelled as he approached my car after football practice.

"No way, Javari! Get in the back. She's my mom, dude. I get the front!" my son Spencer hollered back, trying to jockey for the prime piece of vehicle real estate known as the front passenger seat. Then, while the two of them playfully argued over whose turn it was to ride next to me, their friend Grant quietly slipped in front, grinning with a smile of victory.

Kids like to get their own way. So do adults. During my substitute teaching years, I spent many days getting children to take turns at recess or not cut in line at lunch. I broke up fights over seats in the library and over who was going to be captain during flag football.

A morning commute in traffic will showcase how adults also like to get their own way and be first. Horns honk and nasty looks are exchanged as drivers vie for their spot on the road, sometimes speeding or cutting others off in the process. But how refreshing it is to meet a kind person in a traffic jam, one who waves you on and allows you to move over a lane. And when they do it with a smile, this rare gesture restores faith in the human race.

I used to read today's key verse about laying down our lives, and thought of it as a person actually dying for another, which of course is the greatest love of all. But I have also come to think of "laying down my life" as the little choices which put others first.

Putting others first doesn't come naturally to us. Our innate tendency is to reach for the biggest slice of pie rather than offer it to a family member. It takes a conscious effort to allow others to go before you or to let them have what you really want. This is why I have always been impressed at those who seem to do it regularly.

My mother is one who made selfless choices, when as a single mom on a tight budget, she would wear the same threadbare coat winter after winter in order to make sure her children had warm jackets.

I also think of Alma, whom I've known since she was the Sunday school teacher for the preschool class when my adult daughter was young. Conversations with this sweet woman are sure to revolve around you and your family. She rarely talks about herself, but instead wants to know how she can be praying for you and your loved ones. She is known by many as "the nicest woman in the world."

Then there's the man at church who opens doors for others, helps visitors find a cup of coffee or locate a classroom, and does it all with a genuine smile. He is not an official usher. Just a kind soul.

But I also know people who've given more. Like Andrew, my friend Tami's son. I first knew Andrew as an energetic toddler. Throughout his life he wanted to serve. To protect. To save. It was evident in his play as a child and with his future goals as a teen. Then one day, as a 19-year-old soldier, he laid down his life for his country on a battlefield far away.

Most likely we won't ever be called to make the ultimate sacrifice, but could we vow to put others first a little more often? To intentionally look for ways to meet their needs while we put ours on hold? To, in a sense, lay down a little of our lives daily for another?

When we do, we will be modeling Christ to a watching world as we learn to live a life that says, "No, you first."

I'm in. Are you? If we ever meet in person someday, I'll hold the door open for you with a smile. Why, I just might even let you take the biggest piece of pie. {Maybe.}

Dear Lord, help me to be unselfish, to intentionally look for ways to put others first in the little things in life. Maybe even in making the ultimate sacrifice if ever I'm called upon. When people look at me, I want them to see You instead. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 John 3:18, "Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action." (HCSB)

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In America, today is Memorial Day, the day we honor those who have given their lives in service to our country. Take time to attend a parade or ceremony in your area or join in a call to pause, pray and remember with others around the country.

Pray about a way you can put others before yourself today. Then, go and do it.

© 2014 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org


This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with John

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