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First Grader Learns That More Is Expected of Him Than When He Was in Kindergarten

When they came in the house, Jesus asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:33-35

Wanda Vassallo tells of her friend, Linda, who teaches first grade. Linda told her about an interaction she had with one of her students on the first day of school. Accustomed to going home at noon in kindergarten, Ryan was getting his things ready to leave for home when he was actually supposed to be heading to lunch with the rest of the class. Linda asked him what he was doing. "I’m going home," he replied. Linda tried to explain that, now that he is in the first grade, he would have a longer school day. "You’ll go eat lunch now," she said, "and then you’ll come back to the room and do some more work before you go home." Ryan looked up at her in disbelief, hoping she was kidding. Convinced of her seriousness, Ryan then put his hands on his hips and demanded, "Who on earth signed me up for this program?"

As believers, it’s easy to feel a little like Ryan when we consider the Christian life. The requirements are daunting—"Surely the Lord doesn’t expect me to forgive seventy times seven;" "Surely he doesn’t want me to turn the other cheek when someone hurts me;" "What does he mean, “take up my cross’?" It isn’t long before you want to say, "Who on earth signed me up for this program?" (Wanda Vassallo, PreachingToday.com)

From a sermon by Monty Newton, Discernable Differences for Disciples, 11/14/2009

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