January 22, 2009 - Thursday of the Second Week after Epiphany

Today's Reading: Romans 12:6-16

Daily Lectionary: Joel 2:1-17; Romans 11:1-24

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. (Romans 12:10)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Give preference to one another? You mean, put others first? You mean stop trying to get to the head of the line, trying to look more important or act funnier or be more popular than other people? If we put other people ahead of us, we'll never get anywhere in this world. If we don't “look out for number one,” this world is going to walk all over us. We’ll act humble and pretend we’re more concerned about others when it suits us or advances our agendas. That's our world. That's our sinful nature.

Who do you think is more important? Sinners or Jesus? The obvious answer seems to be “Jesus”, but think again. Why is it that the Son of God comes into this world, becomes a man and allows Himself to be beat up and crucified? He does this because the Father sent Him to do it in His grace to save sinners. The simple fact is, the One who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords came to put sinners first. When Jesus gives Himself into death on the Cross, He's not thinking about Himself, but about His heavenly Father and doing His will.

As those who have been baptized into Christ, the Lord, too, has given us preference. He has stooped down from heaven to put His name on us. Now we learn the lesson: With such a heavenly Father, why do we have to worry about what the world thinks of us? We are so free in Christ, that we could dare to put others first! Treat them as if they are the most important. Give them priority. After all, you're already the Lord's! In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

O grant that nothing in my soul May dwell, but Thy pure love alone; Oh, may Thy love possess me whole, My joy, my treasure, and my crown! All coldness from my heart remove; My ev'ry act, worth, thought be love. (LSB 683:2)