Today, my daughter went off to school facing her first chair try-out on the oboe. Her 6th grade band has three oboes and when I asked her how she felt, she admitted that she was a little nervous. We haven't made a big deal out of it because we just want our kids to enjoy playing and it won't be long before they will be putting their own pressure on themselves. I remember sitting and waiting for my turn to play during the chair try-outs at school and listening to about 12 other flutists play and I also remember the high expectations I placed on myself. I also remember how first chair was a place of prominence and we all wanted to be there. First chair meant that you got to play all the solos and got to play in the full orchestra. Second chair was cool too because you could fill in on solos when necessary or played duets with the first chair and you also got to play in the full orchestra. In my band it also meant that you got first dibs on playing the piccolo. But as she walked out the door she said something to me, "It really doesn't matter what chair I'm in because all the oboes play the same part." The wonderful thing about that statement is that even if there were three different parts, they are each important otherwise the composer wouldn't have written them! Then I read the verses I am looking at today and saw how we humans like to put a ranking on each other that God doesn't concern Himself with. Please read Genesis 48:12-22.
Yesterday, I explored how Jacob's belief and and faith in God dictated all that he did and we see a perfect example of how it even played a role in the blessing of his children and grandchildren. Jacob put Ephraim before Manasseh in the blessing, which meant that he put the younger before the older. This was not the norm in their culture, in fact it was almost unheard of. I say "almost" because Jacob was the younger of twins and he was put before his brother - with a little help of deception. But either way, Jacob knew by faith that Ephraim was supposed to go first. Hebrews 11:21 (NLT) says, "It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff." Jacob knew that this was what God had ordained.
We humans can decide all we want who we feel is more important. We can decide who should make more money based on the type of job they are doing, but it really doesn't matter what ranking we give to people. God shows us time and time again that He will decide what is best and that ranking doesn't matter. The reality is, just as every part that is written in a musical score is important, every person is important to God and we each have a part to play. 1 Corinthians 12:16-17 (NLT) spells it out for us this way, "And if the ear says, 'I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,' would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?" There is no part more important than the other! Paul continues by saying in 1 Corinthians 12:22 (NLT), "In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary."
Human ranking means nothing to God because He sees things so different from us. Jesus even told us in Mark 9:35 (NLT), "He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to Him, and said, 'Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.'" So, in God's eyes it is a place of honor to serve. That really doesn't make a whole lot of sense in our human eyes. In 1 Corinthians 12:29-31 (NLT) we are told, "Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts." We see that even our ranking of spiritual gifts is invalid. We need to humbly accept where God has us and understand that our part is important to Him and find satisfaction in being His servant.
Are you concerned with ranking or do you trust God's vision for you?
This post is linked with On Your Heart Tuesday and Soli Deo Gloria.