I often make reference to the two Christian men who died at a front door . . . waiting for the other one to go in first. Of course that never happened (I guess) and is supposed to be humorous. But there is a point it makes. If we feel a burden to always be last, we’re putting ourselves in a box, inhibiting God’s provision of blessings for us.
To be sure, there is much in the Bible about not looking to climb to the top, or posturing ourselves to get ahead, especially to the detriment of others. Rather we are called to humility. One of the most cogent expressions of that is Philippians 2:3 where the Jewish Apostle Paul writes, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
Yeshua of course also made many proclamations about the subject. In Matthew 20:26-28 He cautioned, “But whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” So here’s the obvious conundrum. If everyone is serving, who’s getting served? In other words, if we’re all blessing each other, who’s getting the blessing? While it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), it is still a blessing to receive. Allowing there to be balance, led by the Spirit, I believe is the right path.
Over the years, I’ve developed an approach to this. For example, when handling who picks up the tab for a meal when I’m with others at a restaurant. After my second earnest attempt to pay the bill, if some one else is still insisting, I let them. If life becomes a contest to see who can be more humble, then we have lost the point. Jesus humbled Himself, even unto death, yet He accepted blessings. To be sure, His ministry was blessed with adequate finances. Of course that doesn’t mean He and the Apostles were rich, but they had what they needed, and it came from those who blessed Him. That the group had a treasurer (Judas) suggests there was money coming in. Luke 8:1-3 tells us about three women who had been healed by Yeshua who were among those who provided support. Certainly there were others.
In the Gospels, Mary anointed Jesus with costly fragrant oil and He accepted the blessing. Even though there was pushback that the oil could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor, Messiah didn’t want to steal Mary’s blessing from her.
When we allow others to bless us, we’re allowing the blessing to flow to them. Whether it’s as simple as lending a helping hand, or sacrificing your own agenda, it works both ways. The Lord knows our need, as He knows the need of others. When we exercise true humility, the blessings will flow -from us or to us. Looking back to Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit,” perhaps also means don’t have false humility.
Let’s have a right heart to be willing to let God provide.