June 22, 2013
The grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 1 Timothy 1:14-15
Alice Roosevelt Longworth was the oldest daughter of President Teddy.
A person of note in her own right, Longworth had the ability to accurately judge people, including her father. Later in life she said, "Father always had to be the center of attention. When he went to a wedding, he wanted to be the bride. When he went to a funeral, he was sorry that he couldn't be the corpse."
Truth be told, most people, like Teddy, want to be number one.
Not so long ago I was told of a boy who, at a party, was offered his choice between two pieces of cake. One of those pieces was large, the other small. When the boy was asked to make his selection, he replied, "My sister likes cake too. Would it be okay if I let her go first?"
The adults at the table were deeply moved by the boy's graciousness and commented on how polite he was. But the lad's father knew better. What he had just heard was not like his son. The little boy that he knew so well was not usually that considerate.
Quietly, dad took his son to another room and asked, "My boy you're not usually so thoughtful when it comes to your sister. What's going on?"
To his credit the boy's answer gave an honest explanation into his thinking. He said: "Well, I figured it out this way. If I took the first piece, you taught me I had to take the little one, but if I let my sister make the first choice, then she had to take the small one, and I would get the bigger -- the one I really wanted."
Most of us want the big piece of cake; we want to be number one.
In contrast to how we are, stands the Savior.
Read through the Gospels. Take a careful look and you will see there is never a time when Jesus thought first of Himself. If He was tired and people needed helping, He helped. If He was in a hurry to go somewhere and someone came to Him, He stopped to listen. If it meant sacrificing His innocent life or letting the guilty of this world burn in hell ... He chose the cross.
In short, Jesus didn't do what we would have done. He gave Himself to save not His friends, but His enemies. And for that act of love we who are saved will be eternally in His debt.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I give thanks You were, in every way better, kinder, more generous and gracious than I could ever be. Even more, I rejoice You did for me what I was unable to do. You kept the Law so I might be forgiven and conquered death so I might live. May I, in word and deed, show my appreciation and awe. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries