When I Want To Have My Own Way For Once


[box] John 13:15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.[/box]

“I don’t understand.  Why can’t I just do what I want sometimes?”

The car was running, kids were loading up, coffee was filling to-go cups, and Steve and I exchanged glances as if to say, “Who takes this one?”  The statement wasn’t a theologically deep one.  It was just one that we didn’t want to brush right over.  It’s the heart of human nature to desire what we want.  We are selfish little creatures.  At the root of most of our conflicts is the desire to get our own way.

The issue revolved around chasing down foul balls at the local college baseball games.  You see, this is a huge deal to kids.  With each foul ball turned in, you receive $1 for the concession stand.  A few foul balls gets you all the junk food your parents refuse you.  When the ball goes foul, the Me First Monster emerges from within each child, and the monsters race.  And sometimes fight.  And sometimes call names.  At least behind the backs of the other kids accused of cheating, when really the only thing they could be accused of is trying their hardest to earn some candy.

As Steve poured coffee, he relayed a story to me about how one of my sweet children had the power to share a foul ball with a little boy who desperately wanted a foul ball.  However, the Me First Monster spoke for my sweet child and never gave that little boy his wish.  Steve could have forced him to share his ball. He could’ve demanded my son do the right thing, and he would’ve because he’s obedient.  But the heart.  The heart would lie seething under the weight of the obedience.  As parents we can’t change the heart of our children.  We can demand obedience, but what if they obey and the heart inside rebels?  I find that a far scarier response.

Lying on the counter was an extra $1 coupon that never even went used.  My son had the power to share, but he saved it for himself and never even used it.  He looked down at it and said, “I just want to do it my way sometimes.”  He placed his desires above another’s.  I can relate.  You too?

I said it anyway.  I knew he would roll his eyes and dismiss my comment.  I knew his mind was thinking, here she goes again taking it all spiritual and all.  But I did it because I only have a few years to get these little nuggets in.

“Before you make any decision, you should ask yourself if that is the choice Jesus would want you to make.”

Yep, the eyes rolled.  “Mo-oom.  Do I really always have to do it the way Jesus wants?”

Again, Steve and I did the little exchange that says, “Who’s turn?”  We both went in.  “Yes, everything we do, we should do it Jesus’ way.  Jesus died for our sins because He loves us more than we can possibly ever imagine.  And when he was here, he served.  He didn’t look to his own interests first.  He served.  Jesus was not selfish.  Jesus was a servant.  He modeled to us servanthood – putting the needs of others before our own desires.”

Tomorrow is the day of the Last Supper.  The night Jesus was betrayed by one of his very own into the hands that would kill him the next day.  Jesus knew it was going to happen.  He even knew who the betrayer was.  He was fully God and fully man.  With all his knowledge, he willingly died for me. But like so much of the Bible, I read something and say, “What?!”  Because Christ is more than we can fathom.

The night of the Passover Feast, Jesus stood up from the table and began washing the feet of his disciples.  I believe I would respond like Peter.  No way, you can’t wash my feet, I should wash yours.  But Jesus carried on washing the feet of his disciples.

John 13: 12-17 “When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place.  “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.  “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.”

Lord, thank you that you modeled for us servanthood.  Give me a heart that desires to do things your way.  Give me a heart that desires to serve not only out of obedience but out of a deep love for you and for others.  Amen.

PS – The pictures I use rarely match up with the children used in the story.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.  🙂