Be generous and come second.
Luke 11 v 43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.”
They wanted to be noticed.
Maybe the important seats had special padding, maybe a nice back to them, maybe even their names printed on them. Maybe when you bumped into a Pharisee you bowed and went into some long-winded greeting of praise for who they were and what they had done. The other gospels of Matthew and Mark indicate how they loved their titles.
We need to remind ourselves who has the best seat, who deserves the greatest greeting and who has the better title!
Philippians 2: 9-11 “God exalted Jesus to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
The Pharisees would first see Jesus sacrifice his place on earth and be slandered on the cross, the Lamb of God slain for the sin of the world.
Be generous and give up your seat.
We had just taken a bumper offering for new chairs in the Church. I had advertised it as ‘buy a chair’. What I hadn’t anticipated was that for one of the members they heard ‘buy your chair’. It wasn’t long before that person was causing problems when a visitor unassumingly sat in ‘my chair’.
Be generous and don’t use your title.
I was just about to join the singing with the congregation as the evening service began when I was handed a business card by a new person who had begun attending the Church. I knew it was coming and I was glad to receive it so that I had their full name and address. What I hadn’t anticipated was the number of titles under their name: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher. I got the hint that they were looking for a position in the Church however, with all those titles I wondered at what grandiose a position I could create for them!
Jesus didn’t flaunt his titles and He has all the titles. He came to fulfil a mission not a position.
Be generous and give a true blessing.
Over the last 20 years of travelling around the world the one thing I have had garlands of flowers, head dresses, cloths placed over my shoulders even offered a powder from a plant (I think it was a drug!). All these and many more were given to bless and to honour me. I live in a culture where even with our close friends we playfully plague and belittle each other. We seem incapable of honour unless it is on a big stage. We must bless more in private. We need to start by being generous with our words in honouring one another. Bless their days. Ephesians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
Jesus said in v41 “But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.”
Do you like to be first? Today purposely come second in everything. Be generous. Especially to those who have less than you. Be generous, don’t be first.