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Summary: Allowing ourselves to take second place the only one who should be in first place - Jesus

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"Playing Second Fiddle"

Readings: John 1:29-42, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10


• What’s wrong with second place?

• First place is worth fighting for, isn’t it? Don’t we want our kids to be all they can be? To be the best, achieve the most, get the highest marks, get into the best schools, live in the best neighborhoods?

• What’s wrong with that after all?

• Now I remember watching my cousin run a cross country race.

• My family are Afrikaans, have you ever seen how excited Afrikaans parents get about their children’s sport

• When it comes to the finish line you see all shades of red and even purple in their faces

• Now none of that can compare to a story that I read when preparing for the sermon.

A man named Thomas Junta was a 44-year-old truck driver, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Massachusetts for killing his son’s hockey coach, Michael Costin by smashing his face on he ice of the hockey rink during a disagreement. The event was seen by many boys on the team, because the dispute was during a practice, not even an actual game. Charles McGrath, writing about the incident says, "In my experience both as a coach and as a spectator, hockey parents are even worse that Little League parents who seem meek by comparison." This author tells of a fight he witnessed rink-side as two hockey moms literally pummeled each other in a dispute about a game. (NY Times Mag. 1/20/02)

• So there! First place is worth fighting for, isn’t it?

• This incident is bizarre, and deaths involving irate parents at sporting events are rare. But parental anger isn’t.

• Parents want their kids to win.

• Got to be first. Got to be rich.

• I’m afraid our culture is way off course.

• This culture wants to grab hold of us and get us into this endless cycle of acquiring.

• Now Jesus came to make people rich. Isn’t that a wonderful thought?

• The Bible even says that. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich (Gk. PLOUSIOS), yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty, you might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9)"

• But let me not be one of those prosperity preachers and clarify a little here.

• The Greek word means is "fullness." The root is "to flow." It can mean fullness of goods, but in this case here it means spiritual fullness. It means a flowing in of incredible spiritual riches

• It is more important to have a cup running over with the Spirit of the Lord than a coffee running over with gold.

• The person with the most things - the person with the most first place ribbons, the person who is first chair first, is not necessary life’s most successful person.

1. John the second fiddle

• I guess the greatest second fiddle of all time is John the Baptist.

• I’m going to tell you something about John that some might not know. John the Baptist had disciples. He had people who followed him just like the disciples we know so well followed Jesus.

• They were devoted to their master, John, but they faced a crisis. When Jesus came along, John, "Here’s the guy I was telling you about. Leave me and follow him."

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