Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Not Me!

Not Me!
Who rubbed my deodorant all over the toilet seat?
“Not me.”

Who ate the chocolate bar that I was hiding in my night stand?
“Not me.”

Who drew with burnt orange crayon on my wall?
“Not me.”

Who spilled formula powder all over my piano?
“Not me.”

Who will clean up all this mess?
“Not me.”

My friends with older, more experienced broods are quick to kindly reassure me that “Not me” leaves home eventually, or becomes something else entirely, perhaps something along the lines of “Whatever” and  “Nuh-uh.” You’ll be surprised just how fast “Not me” disappears, I’m told. “Not me” is a trouble maker for now, but “Not me” won’t be around for very long. Just wait and see when “Not me” flies the coop, just how quiet and calm all of these things will be.

But I am not so sure.

I wanted to do grand things, to change the world, to make a difference with music and writing and speaking and all of that exciting stuff that people want to see and hear and feel and do. Yet here I am, instead of chasing dreams I am fumbling through another year of nighttime feedings and scraping scrambled eggs off of greasy finger-painted walls and changing countless diapers. Countless. Because dirty diapers just won’t change themselves. Sometimes, parenting kind of stinks, especially when I am unsure of what my children’s future holds and if they’ll ever make it on their own. Their dreams and mine hang precariously in the balance as parenting threatens to turn into long-term caregiving with every milestone unmet. The future is clouded with diaper changes and doctor appointments and cleaning up messes and all of the things I thought I would be outgrowing as my little children outgrew that troublesome, “Not me.”

“Who will be diligent in the small things?” God asks.   

My stubborn heart responds, “I was bound for bigger things. Not me.”

“Who will care for the least of these?” God tugs gently at my heart.

“Not me. I have songs to write and words to craft and powerful talks to dream up in my head.” I didn’t think this phase of life would last so long or require so very much of me.

“Who would be willing to leave behind the glory and the power and the fame and the wealth and follow me?

“Not me, God, I’m too busy chasing dreams. And besides, don’t I deserve those things? Why should it be me?”

But what if Jesus said, “Not me?” God reminds me that His Son willingly, lovingly, purposefully left the splendor and glory and the wealth of heaven in order to become the least of these.  He gave up His throne for a dirty manger, His glory for insignificance, and His power for humility. He traded it in for painful scars, and painful betrayal, a painful death, and the chance to wash some stinking, dirty feet in the most selfless, mundane act of love. Jesus gave up all that rightfully belonged to Him in order to provide for us that thing we cannot provide for ourselves - salvation. Heaven. And most of all, Himself. In one single selfless act, He cleaned up all of our stinking messes and washed away our odor and our grime with unending love and His own precious blood.  What if Jesus said, “Not Me” when it was time to come to earth? What if Jesus said “Not Me” when it was time to give away His life? What if Jesus said “Not Me” when it was time to burst forth from the tomb, forever cementing our eternity with Him?

What if Jesus said, “Not Me” when it was time to take away my sin? Instead of being worshiped and reveling in His wealth and enjoying His status as God Himself, this Jesus left His place of power and glory to become a simple, insignificant servant. Even Jesus’ disciples struggled with this journey, saying, “Me first” and “Not me” at all the wrong times, wanting to share in the glory and the power that He alone deserved. And when they began to bicker over who was most important, Jesus stepped in.

So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45, NLT)

Jesus said “Not Me” to His status in heaven, and when it came time to serve, to sacrifice, to die, He gloriously proclaimed “Me first!”

Merciful God,
When my heart begins to bicker with You, I beg You to step in and set me straight. When You ask me to serve the least of these, to selflessly carry out the mundane, to clean up smelly, stinky messes again and again when I would rather chase my dreams, I pray You will cause my heart to say, “Me first” to serving. And when it comes to chasing glory and fame and wealth and freedom, I pray You will cause my heart to say, “Not me!” because You sent Your Son to give it all up first. Thank You God for loving me enough to give up Your whole life for mine. Help me, Lord, to give up mine in order to serve those who cannot serve themselves whether it is changing diapers, kissing booboos, or caregiving their whole life long.  Amen


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