Rock crushes scissors, paper covers rock and scissors cut paper. We know how this game works. There’s a pecking order that’s universally acknowledged. I’m realising that I play this game more regularly than I thought. Although I don’t always cheer out loud when I’m the winner and the rules are more sophisticated. I’m still inwardly celebrating victories or being crushed by defeats. Who is it that’s crushing me with an instagram photo of their dessert that I’d love to eat? Who is it that I’m trying to cut down to size by gossiping about them? What information am I deliberately including in my conversation to cover the competition from sight? Rock – Paper – Scissors could be a commentary of so much of my life. It could explain the motivation behind many words and actions.
At Carnmoney Church we were thinking about pecking order in the Kingdom of God. In Matthew 18 the disciples wanted Jesus to give them an organisational chart, they wanted to know ‘who is the greatest?’ It’s fair to say that Jesus’ reply was not what they were expecting.
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus was telling them that they would never enter the Kingdom of God on the grounds of their own credentials. Children do not bring about their own existence! The change that was needed by the first disciples (and all disciples) was to step away from their spiritual CV and depend totally on Jesus (who alone had given them life in God’s Kingdom.) They possessed nothing to compete with. He was reminding them that their existence in God’s Kingdom had nothing to do with their effort and everything to do with His effort.
The Lord, ye know, is God indeed;
without our aid he did us make:
we are his flock, he doth us feed,
and for his sheep he doth us take. ‘All People That on Earth’
It’s Jesus’ CV that we need to depend on not our own. This news frees me from being in a constant state of comparison with others. My existence is not in anyway related to my competence, reputation or influence. Discipleship is a deepening awareness that – we never outgrow our need of a Saviour. The good news is, Jesus is the Saviour – not you. We don’t need to crush, cut or cover over the competition to compensate for our feelings of inferiority. Jesus did this for us at The Cross. Our weakness or strength play no part in our spiritual life. If you want to enter the Kingdom of God, you need to depend on Jesus.
Drop your weapons!
[and check out the sticky toffee pudding I had at lunch today.]