Diotrephes, who loves to be first… 3 John 9
Lord Jesus, what an unfortunate way to be chronicled in the Bible: “Diotrephes, who loves to be first...” To the extent the same is true of us, forgive and free us. I’ve certainly recognized some of this impulse during the C-19 pandemic.
Just this week, during one of the early morning Publix 65+ senior shopping hours, I found myself noticing and resenting line-breakers. And then when the doors opened, I didn’t wait for a cart, but instead made a bee-line for the toilet paper stash, grabbed my prize, then got a cart.
For the next several minutes, the 100+ in Publix, found the energy of middle school students, racing and reaching for our favorite snacks, essentials, and bargains. Jesus, that’s not who I want to be. That’s not how the Gospel calls us to live.
Have mercy on us, Lord—have mercy on me. Here we are on the cusp of celebrating Holy Week—tomorrow being Palm Sunday. For the next several days we will survey your cross, savor your grace, and center our hearts.
You didn’t consider your equality with God something to be held onto for personal gain. You never chose to be first, or grabbed for anything. Rather, you emptied yourself to become the quintessential Servant—serving us by your life, death, and resurrection (Phil. 2:1-11). Now, you ever live to serve us as our Advocate and Intercessor, King and Bridegroom. Thank you, Jesus.
May your unparalleled humility, astonishing servanthood, and immeasurable love convict us to the core, Jesus. Restore us to our first love, first joy, and first humility. May our “me-first-ness” get a glorious “beat-down,” by a greater passion for Christlikeness. So very Amen we pray, in your merciful and matchless name.