1 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us...God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

MATTHEW - Who's The Best?

Everyone loves a winner.

And we live in a competitive world, don’t we?

What is it about human nature that makes us want to finish on top, to beat out the next guy, to endlessly compare ourselves to others?

Unfortunately, winning can be a relative term.

Especially when the issue of popularity is thrown in there.

When I was in high school (ages and ages ago…), I decided to try out for the flag team. Back in my day, the flag team was a little group of girls who twirled flags (basically batons with flags attached) – as they marched in parades and performed at football games.

So, I practiced and practiced. I got pretty good at it.

Finally the day came for tryouts. Yikes! I was really nervous. We tried out in groups of four. My best friend was right next to me. I only made one minor mistake, but my friend performed flawlessly.

There was one girl in our group who flubbed several moves – she even dropped her flag two or three times (BIG no-no).

I remember feeling pretty good afterwards. I thought I had a chance – but for sure, my girlfriend was gonna get in – she did great.

A few days later, we went to see who had made the team. I remember feeling sorry for the girl in our group who performed so poorly.

We looked at the names…the girl who had messed up, and dropped her flag, made the team. I should have known…

She was popular.

Sometimes we can get caught up in the same sort of competition within the Body of Christ. Sometimes we can get preoccupied with who’s the "better" Christian. Sometimes we compare ourselves, and jockey around for position – assigning value to our serving, and rating our sins.

It’s not very attractive – but it’s all so human.

Today’s "Bible Pick ‘Ems" shows us that this is not a new phenomenon. A long time ago, a motley crew of twelve men did the same thing:

"About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, 'Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?'" (Matthew 18:1)

I can almost hear the disciples kibitzing –

"I found the boy with the fish and loaves."

"Yeah, but I went up to the mountaintop with Him."

"I went, too, you know."

"Boys, boys – I walked on water."

Someone mutters in the background – "Yeah, for like two minutes."

Jesus must have rolled his eyes in frustration.

At this point in His ministry, His disciples were wasting time engaging in personal competition? They were concerned with whom He liked best? They were consumed with petty issues like performance and position?

The Kingdom of Heaven was a popularity contest?

Had they learned nothing?

"Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, 'I tell you the truth, unless you…become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.'" (Matthew 18:2-4)

The disciples had totally lost sight of what was truly important. They were caught up in winning. Instead of seeking a place of service, they sought positions of advantage.

Painful, but true – it is easy to lose our eternal perspective and compete for promotions or status in the church.

It’s easy to play the comparison game.

It’s tempting to want to "win" a faith popularity contest.

But Jesus doesn’t want winners – He wants servants.

He wants people who have childlike faith. Who are weak and dependent on Him. People who do not boast in their own abilities – but rely on only Him.

Jesus told us that we might be surprised in the end – for He turned the world’s values upside down. He promised that "many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then."

I think we can believe Him.

After all, He proved it Himself by dying a humble death on a criminal’s cross – and then was raised to the highest glory in His Father’s Kingdom.

You know, I don’t think I care so much about popularity anymore…

I just want to be His child – and seek His approval.

How about you?

(Linked with Super Sunday, hosted by Peggy - and Spiritual Sundays, hosted by Charlotte and Ginger)

"When in doubt, search God out!"


  1. Yes, Lord Jesus... I'm sure You rolled Your eyes than as You must today... but I thank You for the PURE JOY and wisdom these words from Sharon and You fill me with this day! I am blessed. Thank You for the lessons Sharon shares and teaches us from her life experiences and applied to Your Word!

    (my verification word "equate"...rare to get a word... and that it be this)

    I too want to seek You and Your approval, help us stay heavenly focused instead of our human flesh and weakness. Keep our eyes on You not on each other. Keep us from coveting what You have given to others and You know Lord that I'm just not speaking about material possessions. You are all we need. I want to belong to You alone. You fulfill all my needs. I'm thankful that we can call upon You as Your children and become like children in our simple faith of TRUSTING, not comparing or measuring. You have given us the victory! I praise You that we are on the winning team and we each have a unique part as servants.

    Teach us humility! Teach us to please You! Teach us to obey without weighing it out! Teach us to hear and know we hear Your voice! As we stay close to You, let us not be deceived but KNOW YOU and YOUR VOICE! Thank You! I love You and I love that You have placed Sharon in my life to help me through this journey. Praise You for the words You write through Sharon! Glory, hallelujah!

  2. "I just want to be His child – and seek His approval." this is what I want too...☺☺

  3. Hi Sharon,

    Thank you for sharing an enouraging post on humility. This post speaks to something I know I've encounterd. Measuring myself against another is spiritually underming for me; and yet I know that I've done just that. I read a post recently that has helped me face this temptation. Rather than engage in it, I must recognize and acknowledge that all praise goes to God, and I must confess my dependence upon Him alone (not I but Christ).

    Blessings and peace.


  4. Beautiful words of wisdom. All I need is Jesus, He has the answer to all of our problems.
    Thanks for sharing and linking to Super Sonday.

  5. This post brought back memories. I remember the flag twirlers as they were called at the school I went to. I always thought it would be fun to do that but we moved to another town in another state when I was in the 9th grade and they didn't have flag twirlers. Of course the popular girls were the cheer leaders. Anyway, that was about a hundred years ago. LOL
    I've certainly learned through the years that the only thing that really matters as far as approval of others is concerned is that I have HIS approval. Thank you for this thoughtful post.

  6. Whatever else - I've got the Best Robe! As so, through grace have you!

  7. Just the "word" I needed this morning. Lately, I've allowed myself to fall into the comparison trap, and it's made me feel very diminished about who I am in Christ. I've always thought of myself as pretty grounded in this area, but I think that recent events have added to my angst. I need only be concerned about pleasing the Father and his approval of me. The rest will follow. Thank you, again, for your no nonsense, practical way of applying the truth to my heart. Have a blessed day in Jesus.


  8. Amen Sharon, you are in a great place. Like Jesus told Mary, the only thing that is important is sitting at Jesus's feet; loving, worshiping, and knowing him; that is the only thing that will not be taken away from you; no one can compete with your postion at the feet of Jesus:) Nice post:)

  9. Hi Sharon,
    What a wonderful post! I do not know why we are determined to finish on top or be in a position where we are the most valuable. I know I am guilty too but I want to have a heart to be in the place the Lord has chosen for me and do His will, not for selfish gain, but in His service for His glory.
    God bless,

  10. Peggy - Thank you for your powerful and beautiful prayer. I am also so very glad for your friendship, and for your heart that accompanies me on my journey. May God continue to rescue us from the world's ways, and from the insidious trap of comparing.

    Sarah - I can't think of anything else that is better! I have no higher goal than to please the Lord!

    MTJ - Yes, well said. It's such a subtle temptation, and plays to our "natural" self. But, truly, there is nothing we should measure ourselves against - except the righteousness of God. In this, we all fall short - but that is why we cling to the Savior who died for us. He alone is who we must depend on.

    From the Heart - WELCOME! Thanks so much for stopping by. Jesus is ALL we need, I so heartily agree. And He is The Answer - to everything, and for everything. AMEN!

    Charlotte - Oh boy! You get it, huh?! Now that I've grown older, I sometimes worry about those popular girls. Did they find Jesus - did they realize that He is the only one whose approval matters? I'm glad that you enjoyed this post.

    David - WELCOME! I'm so glad you visited here today! Yes! Well said. And I am wearing that robe with great joy!

    Elaine - What a humble response. One would never guess that you struggle in this area - your gifts just seem to shine. But sometimes the enemy finds just the right time, and just the right way to niggle some self-doubt into our hearts. I pray that God will make you strong against his lies.

    Toyin - Thanks for your good word. I liked how you said that no one can compete with my place at His feet. So true. And also, I am the only one who can keep me from the foot of His cross, where I must lay down my need to please anyone else but Him.

    Ken - Couldn't have said it better! That old sin nature is really strong sometimes, isn't it?! I'm with you - wanting only to do His will, and find my sense of worth in His eyes.



"So I have been greatly encouraged in the midst of my troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives me new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How I thank God for you!"
(1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!