Sunday, December 29, 2019

Putting Others First, Just As Jesus Taught! #JesusFollowers

What if everyone put others first in all things? What if all of us, all the time, thought of others' needs and put ourselves in second place?

If this concept doesn't sound familiar to you, it should, because this thinking is at the core of the teaching of Jesus, and is actually the Gospel he taught.

If Jesus is the one whom God chose to be our teacher of Righteousness and our perfect example to follow, what he says actually matters.

And while we would sometimes like to give others' words equal authority to his, in fact, Jesus' words alone are to be our pathway to the life God wishes us to live, if he alone is our Master.

Jesus taught that we must seek not to be first, or the Greatest among others, but instead to be the last, putting others first.

Jesus told a parable saying that we must not seek to give the most important and most visible public seats to alleged VIPs - seeking favors from thrm in return - but instead, we ought to let others, including the poor and disabled sit with us.

“When you host a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or brothers or relatives or rich neighbors. Otherwise, they may invite you in return, and you will be repaid. But when you host a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind, and you will be blessed." (Luke 14:12-14)

Jesus taught that God doesn't make distinctions among people, and neither should we.

When some of his disciples asked to be given honors, he said that the first would be last and the last would be made first.

Jesus made it clear, speaking to the disciples,  "whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave." Jesus says he made his life a ransom for many, giving all to others. We, he said, must do the same.

Jesus says we must love our neighbors just as we love ourselves, and treat others as we wish to be treated. Further, he said we must deny ourselves if we are to follow him.

We ought to heed Jesus' teachings, then, and seek to treat everyone equally, putting others first, and our desires second.

It's clear from all the he taught that Jesus calls us all to a life of action and Good Works. Every one of our actions in our daily lives should show to others how God wishes humanity to relate to one another and to our Creator.

God wishes us to be holy, just as God is holy, merciful, just as God is merciful, and righteous, just as God is righteous.

Jesus says he did all that God asked him to do, and calls us to always seek to do the same. (John 8:29; 13:15)

Jesus never shirked his duty to serve others, even washing the feet of the disciples as a sign of his humility and how he was living as a "ransom" to others (John 13.)

Serving each other selflessly is the pattern our exemplar, Jesus, gave us to follow. It's not too hard for us, and it's not just a model to admire.

He gave us this example not to make us feel insignificant and unworthy, or to merely "convict us" of our inability to do it, but to prove that this is a path that we, too, may tread, in his footsteps.

By taking up the challenge of seeking to emulate Jesus in all things, we are pleasing God, Who, through Jesus, gave us this challenging Good News, and Who made us capable of accepting it and doing as He wishes us to do.

"Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Matt. 16:24)

"And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 8:39)

This was quite the opposite of the teaching of the religious authorities of the time, the scribes and Pharisees, of whom Jesus said, "They love the places of honor at banquets, the chief seats in the synagogues." (Matt. 23:6)

God wishes us to put others first, and his chosen son and spokesman, Jesus, demonstrated in word and deed how to do this perfectly, then told us to follow him and do just as he had done.

Let's get busy, then, serving and loving our neighbors!

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