December 22, 2022
by Pastor Chuck SwindollScriptures: Matthew 20:26–28
I'll never forget a trip I took with my older son to shoot the rapids at the Rogue River in Oregon. While we were receiving instructions from the guide . . . , I began to study the canoes with my eyes.
I'll never forget a trip I took with my older son to shoot the rapids at the Rogue River in Oregon. While we were receiving instructions from the guide (there were about fifteen of us in the entire group), I began to study the canoes with my eyes. Some were old and worn, but a few were new. Being selfish, I wanted Curt and me to get the new ones . . . so I whispered in his ear:
"Curt, start moving over to the left."
"Just do as I say, son. The two canoes on the end are new. Let's get 'em."
He cooperated. And we got two of the new ones. I handled it so smoothly, nobody even knew it. The older ones were just as good . . . but they were old.
After canoeing, on the way back to our campsite, all fifteen of us were packed like sardines in this old van. All of a sudden, BOOM! A blowout. All our gear had to come out to get to the spare tire. And then that beast of a van had to be jacked up. It was a hot, dirty job. Guess who directed traffic instead of helping to change the tire? As I recall, not one car passed us on that country road during the entire episode.
Why did I do it? Because I'm selfish, plain and simple.
Now, let me tell you the worst part of it all, and it's with embarrassment I do so. It was not until the next day that it dawned on me that I was being selfish in any of this. Talk about a blind spot! And to make matters worse, I was teaching my son to be selfish too! At this rate, in a couple of more years, he would have had it down pat.
You see, I learned a lot about looking out for self in school; I perfected it in the Marine Corps; and I developed ways to pull it off with real finesse in seminary, learning to be a minister. Hey, this is the profession where a guy can get away with it and hardly ever be criticized for it . . . even though we should! But who in the world is going to point a finger at a man of the cloth? Who's willing to touch "God's anointed" (our favorite title) and risk an advanced case of leprosy?
Like you, I caught the disease of selfishness from Adam. No person has ever lived on this earth completely free of this dreaded plague—except One. That's right, ever since Adam, only God's virgin-born Son has had immunity from contamination with sin. He did no sin, knew no sin, had no sin. Being sinless, He lived like no other man ever lived. He spoke as no other man ever spoke. And as that unique Teacher, He cut a new swath. He gave directions that had never been given before by any instructor:
"Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:26–28)