Another town, another school. It was my senior year, and I had to adjust again. I was younger than everyone else,
and I was a new kid in a small town, and I had to try to fit in. I was fifteen, gangly and awkward, shy and uncertain of myself and everything in general. (Can you remember being 15?). The year went on, and I did ok….I played hockey well, and was decent in basketball, so I got by. I was doing as well as I normally did, academically too. By the end of the year, there was some talk that I should be valedictorian, an honor given to the highest achieving senior, both grades-wise, and in terms of overall life in the school.
When this came to my attention by a school counselor, my response was immediate. Absolutely not! I argued that a classmate of mine, who had been the top student for most of his three years in high school, and given his participation in the life of his school, made him the obvious choice. I had no intention of usurping his rightful place. The counselor breathed an audible sigh of relief.
My classmate was grateful and happy at what I had done; he told me so. Word got around that this had happened and I was referred to as noble, kind and generous. I have never felt so much a fraud in all my life. My reasons were not at all noble.
Join us this weekend, as we explore Jesus’ counter-intuitive recipe for greatness. We are called upon to allow others to be first and take our places last, and in so doing to become truly great in God’s eyes. But this is terribly difficult for us. We default to a this-worldly definition of greatness, and for the most part, are happy to let others be last, while we enjoy first place. And even when we can occasionally do the evidently“right” thing, our own self-interest corrupts the act, eliminating its nobility and tarnishing its kindness.