Saturday, December 26, 2009

Place of Honor

I try not to brag about my kids.  It seems like when I write about them, I’m usually highlighting their less than stellar moments.  But I have great kids: they are talented and smart, fun and cute.  They get excellent grade and are nice to others.  I’m definitely proud of them.

Last week piano recitals and programs at school and church highlighted the point.  I was happy with the progress on their piano skills, despite the agonizing pain of having to practice every day.  It was fun to see them sing and play their instruments in the school program.  Grant really did a great job drumming in the elementary band.  He’s only been playing since September.  I thought I would have a royal headache!

On Christmas Eve, Grant and Jenna were going to play their piano duet.  Jenna decided she didn’t want to, so Grant played by himself.  It’s easy to only promote the kids’ outward skills and talents.  Excelling in school can become the most important thing.  Talents are great to have and I’m glad they are using them.  It’s nice to have them in a place of honor, all shiny and talented, sharing it with others.  But, it’s way to easy to become more concerned about what they do than who they are.   

Christmas Eve was very snowy here.  We had to shovel our way into the school our church rents.  Mike had Grant and Jenna bring their shovels.  They happily worked together to shovel the stairs and sidewalk.  They salted it generously.  They worked hard.  No one saw them do it, except me.  No one thanked them.  They didn’t say, “But we are on the worship team.  We shouldn’t have to do THIS job!” 

Shoveling snow is not a normal place of honor.  It seems unusual that I would look back on those moments with more pride than watching them play or sing in front of people.  But in God’s eyes, there is no higher place of honor than service.  Who they are is way more important than what they do.

Jesus washes the feet of his disciples to prove this point.  It’s the lowest job, for the lowest servant.  He says,

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”  John 13:13-17


If only more people could see it.  Letting go of their rights and being willing to do anything, even when you don’t have to.  There will be costs.  People will think they are strange, people will take advantage.  It’s not a message this world understands, but Jesus continually lived and taught it.


My kids taught me a valuable lesson on Christmas Eve. I went about my job that night of taking off and then re-hanging all the lost and found garments on the coat rack we use with a different attitude.  It’s tedious and I like to grumble to myself while I do it.  Maybe it was a Christmas miracle, but I could see it through Jesus’ eyes that night thanks to them.

The true place of honor is service. There is honor in humility.  And I couldn’t be prouder of them.

John 12:25-26

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the many who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be.  My Father will honor the one who serves me.

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