Right Side Up

If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35 NIV

Discover how God made life to work and cooperate with that.

My thoughts and comments today are about “right side up.”

Have you ever heard someone described as, “not knowing which way is up?” I hope it isn’t you. That is not particularly complimentary. You know; it’s about people who get a lot of things wrong. But the reality is that a host of people – maybe any one of us at some point – are confused about how life is meant to work. Here’s the reality. Life does not often work the way you want it to; life works exactly the way God designed it to work. Briefly, you might be able to manipulate a situation or a person to your advantage, but that is not effective for long. Life has a way of regaining its symmetry or balance as God ordained it. It’s better for you, and those around you, when you discover how God made life to work and cooperate with that.

Jesus’ disciples seemed to always be maneuvering for personal advantage, rushing to be first to request “sitting at Your right and at Your left.” See Mark 10:35-42 NIV. Or on more than one occasion, they argued about who among them would be “considered the greatest.” See Mark 9:33-35 NIV. They thought they knew how things should work from the way things appeared to work in the society around them. Their theory was that those who are first get the most; those who are last get the least. We are so much like them, aren’t we? People always seem busy keeping score, vying for place and importance.

Jesus really confused their assumptions. He talked about a time when, “many that are first shall be last; and the last first.” See Mark 10:32 NIV. How confusing is that? Jesus seemed to be always turning things upside down. “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35 NIV. Eventually, after the Feast of Pentecost and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit His followers were described this way: “These who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” Acts 17:6 NKJV. What really was happening was that Jesus and His true followers were actually turning their world right side up – a world as it should be!

Here is how Jesus taught that life should work, “You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them.” That was a world upside down. Here is the Kingdom of God setting things right side up. “But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant . . for even I came not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45 NLT. Serving and sacrifice typify people whose lives are right side up. How do you measure up to that standard?

Here is the matter simply stated, “For you have been called to live in freedom . . to serve one another in love. For the whole Law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Galatians 5:13-14 NLT. Living to bless others and for a cause bigger than yourself is the only way to true happiness. Paul commended the house of Stephanas, who “have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.” 1 Corinthians 16:15 KJV. Through their intentional practice of serving, their selfless lifestyle of sacrifice for others had become habitual, an inseparable part of who they were in Christ. Would to God that would be said of more of us today.

My prayer for you today is that you know when things are as they should be.