Playing Second Fiddle
by Jon Walker
«Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.» Romans 12:1 (NIV)
Next time you bite into a hamburger, I want you to think about how your trip to the fast-food-burger-barn can become a ‘spiritual act of worship.’
The Apostle Paul calls us to be living sacrifices, alive in Christ — moment-by-moment being conformed by the Holy Spirit into the image of Christ. Our spiritual act of worship includes gratefully acknowledging that our heavenly Father is still on the throne of grace and that he has the right to guide us, lead us, and prompt us about any particular thing we do or any specific decision we make throughout the day, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
Eugene Peterson, in The Message, paraphrases Paul’s words this way: «So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering ….» Romans 12:1a (MSG)
In other words, your whole life becomes an act of constant worship when you live, work, and breathe as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23).
Now, you may be thinking, What does this have to do with ordering a burger and fries at the fast-food-burger-barn?
Let’s step into that answer with a confession about myself: You could say I’m in recovery for impatience, a sin I took my sweet time to confess before God (meaning God was patient about my impatience). When you get honest about it, impatience is a form of pride. It says, ‘I require immediate attention (because I’m too childish to wait); ‘My time is more important than the time of others;’ ‘I know better than anyone else what must be done;’ ‘My need is urgent, everyone else – get in the slow line.’
Yet, Paul said when we sacrifice our own choices and preferences in deference to others – when we honor others over ourselves – we please and worship God. (Romans 12:1, 10) Eugene Peterson suggests Paul is saying this: «Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.»(Romans 12:10 MSG)
As I read this passage, I felt the Holy Spirit’s nudging – you know how that goes – ‘Hey, this passage is about you and your impatience; now what are you going to do about it?’ My immediate answer was — to head off to the fast-food-burger-barn for some ‘comfort food.’
It was lunch time, and as I was walking into the burger barn, I started jockeying for position, trying to get through the door before any slow looking people got in front of me. Maybe you’re one of the people I knocked out of the way; then again, maybe you’re one of the people who, just like me, rushed to get the best place in line.
As I grabbed for the door, the words ‘Practice playing second fiddle’ lit across my French fry-deprived mind like neon sign energized by the Holy Spirit. And in that moment, God guided my thoughts to this:
‘What does it matter in eternity if I get my Big Burger Deluxe 35 seconds later than someone else?’
I stopped, and I opened the door for the people behind me and let them go through in front of me.
Here’s my point – Allowing others to go before me when I was in such a rush went against my natural inclinations, but God was telling me to sacrifice my natural tendencies, to lay them on the alter before him so that the Holy Spirit could energize my actions. As Ian Thomas teaches – God replaces our instincts with the Holy Spirit.
By practicing at playing second fiddle, this mundane moment became an act of worship.
· Honor God in all you do – «So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering ….» Romans 12:1a (MSG)
· Go with faith, not fear – As God guides you to places in your life where you’re still not living in sacrifice (that is, being a living sacrifice); ask him to show you what specific fear is keeping you from the faith of your living your everyday, ordinary life before God as an offering.
· I can’t or I won’t – When God confronts you with a natural instinct, a portion of your life where you tend to be self-centered instead of other-centered, as him to show you the difference between ‘I can’t change ….’ And ‘I won’t change …’
· Pick one behavior – Read through Romans 12:6-17 and pick one behavior that you need to offer before God as part of your living sacrifice. Chose an area where you’re weak, but where you’re willing to submit to God’s great and gracious strength.
© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.
Devocionales Cristianos www.devocionalescristianos.org