Luke 9:57-62 ~ 57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
"Lord, let me first go and bury my father."
"Lord, I will follow you, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house."
This "me first" attitude, or mentality, was opposed to JESUS' concept of following HIM. In Luke 9:23 JESUS says, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
JESUS demanded that one must “deny himself" (or herself) to follow HIM.
And in Luke 14:26 JESUS says, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”
Living in a culture that praises putting self first and "Looking Out For #1", it is very easy for Christians to adopt this "me first" mentality. Let's consider some ways that we can be guilty of the “me first” mentality.
How about in our attendance in Praise & Worship?
I have seen many people put their own personal interests before attending Praise & Worship. Erratic attendance is a sure sign of the “me first” mentality. JESUS has called us to a much Higher Calling than ever! We must be ready to step out and step up!!
Step out of our comfort zone & step up to the place HE has called us to!
"Oh I won't be able to make Worship this morning because I really have to get my daughter to a fitting for her prom dress."
"Sorry, I have to go spend time with my parents since I work all week."
"I won't be at Praise & Worship tomorrow because I [add excuse here]!"
I myself have been guilty of not attending Praise & Worship "just because" I did not feel like it! What a selfish attitude!
Being Christian is not about going to Praise & Worship every Sunday..... but it is about supporting and attending any and all gatherings of The Body to learn, to Praise, to Worship, to have fellowship, to grow!
We must interact with one another on a daily basis. We are family! And some of us are the only family many of us have ever known. If we do not know one another then how will we ever know when something is wrong with one another and/or how to help one another in times of need???
What is another way we can be guilty of the "me first" mentality?
How about in our contribution, or our tithes & offerings? Can we have a “me first” mentality there? Absolutely! Christians are instructed to give of their prosperity to meet certain needs within the congregation. However, some wish to spend as much as possible on other things for themselves. Others are just not good stewards of their money. And while others feel burdened with bills for things that are not necessities, but actually luxuries.
One verse that always stands out to me is Isaiah 55:2 ~ "Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance." This, of course was GOD speaking through HIS Prophet, Isaiah.
Why do we spend money on things that just do not satisfy us Spiritually??
XBOX, PS4, iPhone, Designer clothes, and I could go on forever....from cars to jewelry and on and on.... even for cable, movies, and so on... if it is not a necessity then why do we spend our money, or time, on it and then before we go to Praise & Worship we see what we can scrape up to toss into the collection basket.
And contributing, or tithing, is not only done with cash people..... we can tithe with our time; cooking, cleaning, volunteering, etc... because there are some who are barely making it with their current incomes.
So we ask ourselves.....
Am I spending wisely? Do I really need this? Can I do without that? If I go without this could I be helping someone else in need?
"Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?"
Our service to others may be another place we find that some of us may have the “me first” mentality as well.
1Peter 4:10-11 ~ 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
GOD has Blessed each of us with gifts to serve one another. (Romans 12:3-8). Yet many make little effort to do their part. They do not seek to find their "gift" or ability that GOD has given them. They may attend Praise & Worship, but only to receive, not to give of themselves.
Our service to The LORD and HIS Church is greatly hindered by this “me first” attitude and it is damaging to our souls and to those around us.
So what is the attitude we should have?
Well, instead of a “me first” attitude, how about we have an “others first” attitude??
We can see proof of the “others first” attitude as it was illustrated by JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF. HE came to this earth because HE put others first.
In 2Corinthians 8:9 ~ For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
And in Matthew 20:28 JESUS says, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
We are called upon to “put on” this same mindset, or attitude in Philippians 2:3-8, where it says ~ 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
So we must do nothing through selfish ambition, conceit or pride. We must esteem others, and that means everyone, lost or found, better than ourselves. When we think or speak lowly of someone else, we must remember that we are no better than that person. And we must always look out for the best interest of others, friend or foe.
JESUS illustrated this principle of “others first” that HE also desires to be in each of us.