By Julie Hasling
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.” Colossians 3:12 (GNT)
Among the many things this passage instructs, it tells us to be content with “second place.” Wait…what? I thought we were the head and not the tail, the first and not the last, etc. This is true, but the manner in which we obtain greatness in God’s kingdom, is by humbly choosing to be the servant to all.
Remember when the disciples began to argue among themselves as to which one would be greatest among them all? (Luke 22:24-27) The mother of two of those disciples even approached Jesus insisting that her sons be given reserved seating in His kingdom! Today we may laugh at such an absurd request, and yet many Christian have become infected with that kind of selfish ambition through the world we live in. It’s like dirt that has collected on our feet that must be washed clean!
When Jesus washed the disciple’s feet, He demonstrated the “second place” way of thinking and living. Philippians 2:3-5 provides a good description of the servant attitude, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” (NLT)
The world teaches us the “Golden Rule” of treating others in the same way we want to be treated… although even that is not always practiced! But Jesus presents a different mindset that I’ll call the “Second Mile Rule.” This Christ-like rule goes way beyond the Golden Rule in that we are to treat others BETTER than ourselves! That is what it means to be content with “second place.”
There’s not much competition for second place. No black Friday mass of enthusiasts to squeeze through in order to get there. It is a solitary walk of humility with the Master of the universe. It is an intimate and glorious walk where there is no need to compete with anyone or anything.
Today, may we all throw away our mental/emotional trophies and pursue a different prize—the glorious “Crown of Life” given to those who humbly serve, seeking no human recognition, only acknowledgment from the Father!
Julie is founder and president of Life With Father Ministries, a 501(c)3 charitable organization (lifewithfather.org and firstname.lastname@example.org) that ministers the gospel through social media, books and in prisons.