1.11.2014

We don't have to be first.

During a recent exchange with a friend, we began asking questions about who is speaking truth into our lives right now, who we choose to spend time with, and why, and who we would share something significant/important/overwhelming with, other than our spouses.  I was surprised and humbled to see my name on the list.  As I sat there looking at the small assortment of names, I realized what an amazing compliment it is, and what a privilege, to be trusted with an ecstatic, or hurting heart.

And it made me think ...

We are not always "the first to know" when something happens - even with the closest of friends and family.  Pregnancy, moving, a new job, an engagement, retirement, baptism, starting a new ministry, vacation plans, or even a tragedy.  Sometimes we are second, third, fifth, or twelfth.

The question is - does it matter?

Sometimes we learn news when sitting with a group of our dearest friends, and they are the first to rejoice or weep with us.
Sometimes we are looking into the eyes of our spouse, and he/she is the first to share in our news.
Sometimes we learn information when sitting at our office desk in the midst of strangers, and our response is heard by all who are within earshot.
Sometimes we are alone, caught off guard, and just look for the first warm body with whom we can share our joy or sorrow.

After the dust settles, when the screams and whoops stop and the last tear has fallen for the moment ... the one we love seeks us out ... to share a heart that is overflowing with joyful emotion, or to share a heart that is broken and in need of tender loving care.

Does it matter if we are first or fifteenth?  Are we mature enough to set aside our own wants and desires to meet the specific needs of our friend?  Are we loving enough to share in their joy, or comfort them in their grief regardless of where our names were on the list?

Yes, it does sting a bit to read of a friend's pregnancy on facebook, or to hear news of an exciting job promotion from a random person at church.  But the truth is, it is THEIR news to tell!  They have complete freedom to decide when/where/how/who, and they are not wrong or in sin because they did not tell us first.  It is a privilege, not a right, to know anything personal about a friend - no mater how large, small, serious, or fun.  They have chosen to let us in ... to know them ... comfort them ... celebrate ... and pray.

We can be so petty about such things.  So critical.  Arrogant.  Childish.  Immature.

And the Lord has something to say about it:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  
Philippians 2

It is not about us.

The Lord commands, not asks, us to love one another, do everything possible to live at peace with everyone, overlook offenses, accept one another, and consider one another as MORE important than ourselves.  There is a time and place for addressing hurts, thoughtless comments and neglect.  And usually, it is not a sin issue ... but simply a matter of personal expectations going unmet, and emotions taking over rational thoughts and responses.

If we are truly seeking to honor the Lord by obeying His Word, we will take this Scripture to heart and learn to accept announcements, whether delightful or devastating, with grace and kindness, knowing that we, too, have chosen one person over another in a moment of great emotion.

And as we strive to look more and more like Christ, we will find ourselves loving others with a passion and intensity driven by the Savior.
A selfless love.
A love that knows ... we aren't supposed to be first.

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