Second Fiddle

It seems odd that Paul wrote to the Roman church telling them to “outdo” one another. When I’ve ever wanted to outdo someone, it’s usually because I want attention or I want to be better at something. Basically, it was about me and me and me.

But the outdoing Paul wants us to do is not that kind. Romans 12:10 in the ESV says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Other versions say “honor others above yourselves” or “take delight in showing honor.”

The kind of outdoing Paul tells us to do goes against the kind of outdoing we’re used to doing. Instead of outdoing each other in seeking honor, Paul urges us to outdo one another in showing honor.

Jesus gives us an example of what seeking honor looks like. He warns his disciples about what they see some of the religious leaders doing in Matthew 23.

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

Before we start feeling good about ourselves because we think we don’t do this, stop. We’ve all done it and do it, only without the phylacteries and tassels. We brag and gloat and work hard for people to see all the good stuff in our lives. This happens on playgrounds, in school cafeterias and on basketball courts. It happens on news discussion panels, in political speeches, and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. It happens at home, work, the gym and church. Wherever any number of people are gathered, physically or virtually, this can happen.

My favorite translation of verse 10 of Romans 12 is from the Message. The last part of the verse says, “practice playing second fiddle.”

Just think how much would change if we practiced this.

What a difference between seeking honor and showing honor! The difference can mean changed lives and restored relationships. Better marriages, life-giving friendships, less conflict at work, peace and joy.

Unfortunately, I tend to seek it more than show it, but with God’s help, I will get better and better at the best kind of outdoing.

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Photo by Jenn Evelyn-Ann on Unsplash

Welcome

I have a welcome mat on my front porch. Most of us do. We like to think we are welcoming people. But are we? Really?

I asked my 12 year old what she thought about when she heard the word “welcome”.

“I think you’re supposed to be happy when you welcome someone,” she said.

I’m guilty of not always being happy when I welcome or receive someone. I’m sometimes guilty of welcoming only those I feel comfortable welcoming. Or those that are most like me. I shy away from inviting those with more into my home. More money, more house, more education. Those that appear to have it more together, or……….more anything.

And those with less……..the same.

I have to be intentional about welcoming all kinds into my home. Into my conversation. Into my world. But I get so comfortable in my space. In my home with my people. In the office with my co-workers. Within my circle of friends.

My comfort is not what God had in mind when he inspired Paul to write to the Romans: Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (15:7)

Welcome. Invite. Receive. Accept.

Joyfully.

The poor should invite the rich. And the rich the poor. The strong receive the weak and the weak the strong. Those less mature in the faith should receive those more mature, and vice versa. Those living in freedom bring in those dying in bondage and those in bondage welcome the free.

Jesus welcomed all. He asks us to do the same.

So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it!
Romans 15:7 (MSG)