Daily D – Mark 9:35
Sitting down, he called the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.”
MARK 9:35 (CSB)
You have heard of pecking order, the basic social order of a flock of chickens, but have you heard of a petting order? We have this system at work in our home with our two dogs. Ollie the Border Collie is the older of the two. He knows he is the Big Dog and is in charge of making sure everything is done decently and in order around the house.
Millie is our Baby Dog. She is part border collie and part Labrador retriever. She is more interested in squirrels rather than Ollie’s tennis balls. Each is a dog of routines.
We have a guest dog in our home this week. Indianapolis Dog Doggie is here while our daughter and son-in-law are away on vacation. Indie is a golden doodle. He’s a good dood. He is fun and playful and curly. He loves his friends Ollie and Millie. He does not, however, always adhere to the petting order. He is young and precocious and thinks everyone should give him all their attention all the time. His heavy sighs and suggestive yips and groans remind us of his desire for affection.
Ollie comes each morning and places his head on the arm of my chair when I pray and read the Bible. He gets loving strokes and pats until a certain point when I transition from prayer to deep reading. He dutifully lies down and keeps his eyes on me for when I get up and walk to my computer keyboard. He then comes for one more rubdown before I write.
Should I write longer than normal, he gently nudges me to alert me to the fact that 6:30 is drawing night. Millie magically appears from the bathtub where she sleeps. It is time for breakfast.
Indie has somewhat disrupted the routine this week. He pokes his big, curly head into the Petting Zone where Ollie reigns when I sit down in my chair. He licks my arm and wags his tail while I am writing. He crawled into my bride’s lap on the couch last night. Ollie knows this is a No-Dog Zone and dutifully took him by the neck and dragged him back to the floor.
Sadly, Indie will go home tonight as his pawrents return from their vacation. He will be sad. We will miss him, but he will be back soon.
What is the pecking order or petting order where you live, work, and play? Who is in charge? Who enforces the rules? Who gets the most attention? Who dominates the conversations? Who does everyone love, love, love?
Who is the one most often left out, overlooked, underappreciated? In light of what Jesus says here, how should we relate to that person?
Who is the one with the least emotional intelligence regarding the pecking or petting order? What does he or she need most from you?
Notice the posture of our text today. Jesus sat down for this discussion. While Peter, James, John, and Judas competed for the Most Important Apostle crown, Jesus had a child crawl into his lap. The child was apparently unaware of the pecking order. The child did not understand that he or she was not supposed to climb on Jesus.
Jesus said the greatest is the one who demonstrates an unconscious unawareness of pecking orders and who serves without requiring acclaim.
Consider your home, your workplace, your church. How would such an approach to social organization go over? What if it became the norm? What if we were less concerned with pecking orders and more concerned about the deep needs and desires, hopes and dreams of those there gathered?
The greatest in the crowd that day was Jesus. Jesus put the focus on the little one. Be like Jesus.
I will eliminate pecking orders from my home, my work, and my play.
Our Father, empower me to see others the way you see them. Show me how to serve each one. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.
Psalm 52:8, 9 ”But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done. In the presence of your faithful people, I will put my hope in your name, for it is good.“