I have three daughters. I often watch them when they play. One likes to be in charge, one like to play alone, and one likes to have all the attention. This personality dynamic makes for some interesting games…and fights.
The one who likes to be in charge always wants control over what they will play, when, where, and how. Her demands exasperate the loner who is not so concerned with group activities. Just about the time when Little Miss Bossy and Little Miss By Herself begin to bark at each other, Little Miss Princess stops getting doted upon and begins to wail.
With different personalities, there must be different kinds of correction. If I simply say, “Stop fighting!” it doesn’t usually help them understand how they need to change. One needs to stop being a bully. One needs to learn how to cooperate and share. One needs to learn how to take a backseat once in a while. It’s my job to show them how.
Any time more than one personality tries to work together, weaknesses – which also happen to be strengths in some contexts – are revealed. Fortunately, Jesus, in his great wisdom, is able to correct us all with one stop-fighting swipe.
“And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. ” ~Mark 10:42-45
I went over this passage with the girls yesterday. The disciples were in the middle of a very important discussion about who was going to be superior to who. I watched Little Miss Bossy’s nose crinkle as she began to understand. Little Miss Loner asked if she was going to have to clean her room. Little Miss Princess quickly went to fetch her beloved blanket and inserted her thumb into her mouth instinctively. The teacher, well, the teacher remembered what her friend had told her on the phone just a few moments before the lesson began. (Thanks Mama Bean!)
“No one wants to be a dish rag in God’s church, but God’s church needs dish rags – people who aren’t afraid to get dirty doing what no one else wants to; cleaning the messes others leave. A dish rag. A small, insignificant item that is very necessary for cleansing. These are those whom God has given to be ignoble; despised; rejected; unappreciated; outcasts – just like he was.”
“…those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you.”
It shall not be so among you.
Jesus did not come to teach people how to be the boss. He came neither to work in the corner alone nor bow in the limelight. Jesus came to serve and to give for the good of many – which includes being a boss, a loner, a charmer, and a dish-washer alike. The catch is that all positions have the same goal – service. Who are we to think we deserve a better earthly position than he?
But we do. We do, we do, we do. And the disciples clearly did, too.
Perhaps if every day was more like Thanksgiving, we would all get along better. On Thanksgiving, differences are useful. Little Miss Bossy can organize and execute. Little Miss Loner can prep and peel. Little Miss Princess can practice hospitality and pose for pictures. Everyone serves. Everyone shares. Everyone gives. Everyone eats – together. Let’s face it, it’s hard to be angry when you’re busy serving, giving, and being thankful.
When we are thankful, we recognize serving others as a privilege we get to attend to rather than a burden we are obligated to complete. When we’re ungrateful, service is a monumental roadblock on the way to selfishness.
The disciples of Jesus Christ were the only twelve human beings ever to walk the earth who got to physically hang out with God day in and day out. What privilege! What advantage! What opportunity!
Were these men thankful? Not especially, no. They were fighting about who had the biggest britches and it led to melancholy misery where there should have been joy and thanksgiving. Lord, help us learn from their mistakes!
Whether you are Little Miss Bossy, Little Miss Loner, Little Miss Princess, Little Miss Dish Rag, or even President Business, (as the “Lego Movie” schooled us to call Daddy) give thanks. We are privileged to be alive. Thanks to some fearless, faith-filled pilgrims, we are Americans! We have an advantage over most of the known world. We have an opportunity to know Christ and study his Word!
Lord, help us stop fighting with our own brothers and sisters. Help us appreciate our differences and work together to serve and to give our very best to each other every day.
Happy Thanksgiving, turkeys. Love, Little Miss Dish Rag