I no longer participate in the Black Friday rituals of waiting for stores to open at 5 or 6 in the morning, just so I could get the deal of a lifetime. When I was younger, that held a certain fascination for me, but today, sleep is my best friend and maddening crowds are just that: maddening. Besides, the times my wife or I ever got a deal that amazing were few. Most of the time you struggled to be the first in line so you could find great treasure, only to walk away with more stuff to put in the garage next to last year’s stuff. You paid less for the stuff than normal, but in the end, it wasn’t worth a whole lot anyway.
It seems to be human nature to want to be first, the best, or the greatest. We think there is a great value to be on top. We are sure if we can be better than everyone else, the prize waiting for us will ultimately satisfy. Jesus’ disciples argued about which one of them was the greatest. Jesus explained to them that the greatest was the one who chose to be last by serving all. The prize apparently awaits us after we have allowed all others to step ahead of us. We must be completely humbled in order to rise up victorious.
Good stewardship is about giving all we have so that others might not want for anything. This is truly being gracious and offering hospitality to all we encounter. Throughout our lives there are so many people to whom we have the chance to offer our time, talent, and treasure. This is where the real reward lies: in the love of others and God. Besides, we always have heard it is better to give than receive. How great was it to get that DVD player I didn’t need that sits in my garage anyway?