Summary: We have this tendency to be selfish--to look out for #1--me, me, me. The true #1 is God and God’s ways. Jesus shows that making God #1 means not thinking we are better than others. John 13 (foot washing) is a beautiful expression of this.
Looking Out for Number One
March 16, 2008
Part One (kid’s sermon)
Let me tell you about the most memorable day of my life. There I was living this average conditions with no one recognizing my worth. No one really could see the great potential that I had when suddenly everything change. All of a sudden, out of no where, I taken from my dirty, filthy barn and people began treating me in the way that I truly should be treated: like royalty.
First a host of attendants bathed and groomed. I was truly pampered. I hadn’t ask for it but finally someone, somewhere had seen that I didn’t belong in the wretched conditions that I was in. I was fussed over and treated like I never had before. And it felt good. And I know that I looked good. You know what I mean? A day spa has nothing on this because I had at least a half a dozen people taking care of the details for me.
Then I was given the softest and most beautiful material to cover up in. It was truly magnificent. “Fit for a king,” as they would say. And then I given a personal attendant. This guy was going with me and he was going show everybody just how important that I am. Now everyone as we walked along the road would see me and treat me with the respect that I deserved and that is exactly what happened.
The attendant and I began walking toward the middle of city. People were lining the roads just to get a glimpse of me. They shouted praises to me. They shouted their joy and praised God because I was finally arriving. It was truly miraculous. People flocked alongside of the streets and were so concerned about me and my feet that they covered the road with a cushion of leaves. It was truly a momentous event. People were worshipping God and probably being a little extreme because, I’m a little embarrassed to say, it was almost as if they were worshipping me. No matter! I did deserve the recognition.
It took quite a while to get to the middle of the city and people’s enthusiasm didn’t wane one bit. In fact, the closer that I got, the more excited people got. They cheered and shouted. I guess they knew what great things that I was capable of doing.
Finally we arrived at this great building. I had never seen so many people gathered together in one place. My attendant rubbed head briefly but affectionately and proceeded to go into the building. I was guessing that he was going to prepare some special treat for me. I began to imagine that what would happen might be the greatest thing that had ever happened to me.
Except the strangest thing happened. The cheering crowd pushed by me to follow my attendant. It was almost as if they were ignoring me. Me!! What was going on? Didn’t they realize that I was the center of their attention? I was the one that was being honored. I was the one that they had gathered to see.
They pushed past me. I stamped my hooves and cried, “Hey look at me! Hey over here! What are you dong? Where are you going?” I couldn’t believe it. Almost as quickly as it had begun, it was over. I tried to go into the building too but someone grabbed the leather strap that the use to hold on as I sometimes am forced to carry and pulled me away from the party. Sure I had gotten a sweet bath and they had brushed my coat. Sure I had gotten a nice soft blanket but they that was taken off of me too. The palm leaves that I had walked on to get here were even beginning to be blown away.
Who am I?
Sometimes we have tendency as humans to think we are more important than we really are. We even think we are more important than others. So we might say, “It’s not fair” meaning “It’s not fair to me.” So we act more self-centered than God-centered.
What are some self-centered things? And what might be a way to changed that attitude or action into something God-centered?
Summary: Palm Sunday is a reminder for us to focus on God because Jesus is the reason for Easter. Jesus died for us. But Jesus also rose for us as well. So Palm Sunday encourages us to think about something this week: What is most important in my life? Is it really Jesus?
Earlier I played a role, a character. I assumed the perspective of a donkey. Well, the donkey that brought Jesus into Jerusalem and fictitiously assumed something that I think we struggle with as humans. As the donkey, I failed to recognize that it was really all about Jesus all along. This is sometimes what we forget. It really isn’t about me. Life is about God and God’s ways and God’s agenda.