We live in a world of competition.  We live in a world of rankings.  We live in a world of 24/7 “news” and gossip.  Why?  Why do we care who is first?  Who is “best”? Why do we put down and isolate those who may have failed in one way or another — so much so that we need 24/7 news coverage to make sure we are aware?

Thank goodness there is no competition to get into heaven.  We don’t have to beat someone out.  We don’t have to be picked over someone else.  There is room for everyone.  Indeed, to the extent we try to compete (or push others out of the way), Jesus told us repeatedly that the first shall be last.  Today, the Bible opened here:

Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?”  When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come?  What concern is it of yours? You follow me.”

John 21:20-22

“You follow me.”  That is all we need to do.  We do not need to put others down or for that matter worry about what God has planned for them.  We certainly do not need to try to step over them or around them.  Just like we tell our kids when they spend all of their time tattletaling: “you worry about yourself.”

What concern is it of ours?  Our reward in heaven is no less valuable if others are allowed in as well.  We are all sinners.  Is any sin really greater than another? They are all acts against God. At the end of the day, I (selfishly) want God to be merciful!  Isn’t it better if more get in?  Am I really so arrogant to believe that I am better than anyone else or if there were a cut, that I would make it.  Shouldn’t we all be trying to help and encourage good with everyone (rather than blaming and tearing down) so that we all get in?

Dear God,

Be merciful!  And help me to be forgiving and merciful to those around me.  Help me to remember that rankings on earth are meaningless to you.  Better that I help someone than to try to beat them out, or put them down or try to look better next to them.  Your love and your mercy are greater than anything we know or can fathom here on earth.  I yearn (but struggle) to be a small reflection of that.


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