A 2010 study by the Barna Group found that most active churchgoers see Easter as a good time to invite someone to attend worship service. According to the researcher, “If each of those people brought just one adult as their guest, that’d be the equivalent of adding 115 new people per Christian congregation.” Although it may not be realistic to expect everyone to bring a friend, it is clear that our churches need to be prepared to welcome guests throughout the Easter season. [Source: https://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/13-culture/356-most-americans-consider-easter-a-religious-holiday-but-fewer-correctly-identify-its-meaning#.Utx4vP30BN0%5D
The thing about hosting guests is that sometimes we have to give up some of our own comfort to accommodate their needs. We might need to park further away, sit in a seat that isn’t our norm, wear a certain volunteer shirt, or patiently answer questions. An accumulation of small considerations can make a big difference to a guest. And Easter is a wonderful time to find a new way to put guests first in our churches.
Humility is putting others first by giving up what you think you deserve. Putting others first is not our natural inclination. We live in a world that’s all about putting ourselves first. Jesus lived in a world like that too. He could have looked out for Himself, but He didn’t. Out of His love for us, He chose to put us first.
Putting others first will cost you something: your time or money. Maybe it will cost you some pride. But when we choose to follow Jesus with our lives, believing that His death and resurrection made it possible for us to be right with God, the least we can do is put others first—even if it’s a bit uncomfortable and costs us something.
The monthly memory verse is: “Don’t do anything only to get ahead. Don’t do it because you are proud. Instead, be free of pride. Think of others as better than yourselves,” Philippians 2:3, NIrV. When we put others first, sometimes we’ll have to make sacrifices. We might sacrifice our pride. We might sacrifice our wants. But nothing we sacrifice will compare with the great sacrifice Jesus made for us.
In Week One’s Bible story, Jesus serves His disciples by washing their feet (John 13:1-17). Our Bottom Line is: I can put others first by serving them. Serving others often means taking the dirty jobs that no one else wants to do.
In Week Two’s Bible story, Peter wanted to take action and fight in the garden, but he didn’t wait to consider what Jesus wanted (John 18:1-11). Our Bottom Line is: I can put others first by giving up what I want. We show humility when we allow others to choose what they want before we make a choice.
In Week Three’s Bible story, Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to death on a cross (John 18:12 – 20:23). Our Bottom Line is: I should put others first because Jesus put others first. It cost Jesus everything to put us first. His humility can inspire us to help someone else, even when it costs us something.
In Week Four’s Bible story, Jesus doesn’t have to forgive Peter, but chooses to make things right and restore His relationship with Peter (John 21:1-19). Our Bottom Line is: I can put others first by making things right. Be the first to go to the person and ask for their forgiveness.
If you would like to use this article in communication with parents and leaders in your church, feel free, so long as you (1) make no changes to the article, and (2) include the following credit line with the article: By Jessica McKee ©2014 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. http://www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.