The Dyslexia of the Divine--How Last is First in God's Economy

"I am so glad I'm not in charge!" I admitted to my husband as I prepared to attend an out-of-town writer's conference. I had anticipated it for months, and the day had finally arrived. I could barely contain my enthusiasm as I imagined three days as the recipient of someone else's planning, teaching, cooking, cleaning, and bedmaking. Instead of teaching the classes, I could be the student, taking in wonderful words of wisdom and instruction without having to lift a finger.

If you are a wife, mother, administrative assistant, event coordinator, or minister (full-time or lay person), you can relate.

The first sign that something was going terribly wrong had come the day before during morning devotions.

In Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest, my daily reading began with these words from Matthew 20:28:

"The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve."

The next day, the day of the conference, I read these words from Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:15:

"I will very gladly spend and be spent for you."

Chambers writes, "Paul became a sacramental personality; wherever he went, Jesus Christ helped Himself to his life. Many of us are after our own ends, and Jesus Christ cannot help Himself to our lives. If we are abandoned to Jesus, we have no ends of our own to serve."

"But Lord," I argued with Him as I walked my dog, "this is my one chance for someone to take care of me for a change! What about my rest, my enrichment, and my relaxation. What about me?!"

As I rounded the corner for home, a warm sweet breeze wafted over me, caressing my face and making me sigh in delight. His words came just as sweetly to my heart.

"He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed" (Proverbs 11:35).

I left for the conference with a new mission and agenda. I would serve.

"Here am I Lord, send me."

Two days later, I returned from the conference refreshed and satisfied in ways I never could have imagined. I experienced joy as I intentionally looked for ways to serve my sisters and brothers in Christ and met people with whom I never would have interacted if I had gone into the weekend with an inwardly-focused attitude. In the dyslexia of the divine, I came away with blessings I never dreamed of because I let Jesus Christ help Himself to my life. 

"Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all" (Mark 9:35).

 Are you struggling with serving versus being served? I challenge you to take God at His word. Trust Him to refresh you and provide everything you need as you surrender yourself to Him.

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• Is my situation hopeless?
• If God already knows what he’s going to do, why bother to pray? 
• Why have you allowed this to happen to me? 
• No one appreciates what I do. Why shouldn’t I quit? 

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  1. Lori, I love the phrase dyslexia of the divine. What a catchy phrase for the familiar-to-me biblical principle. Can I adopt it in my teaching? Brilliant and bravo.

  2. Lori, thanks for sharing this post. I think we all go through times when we feel we would like to be served instead of serving, but like you said we usually end us with the most blessings when we serve. May God bless you as you continue to serve Him and others.

  3. Lori, I must constantly challenge myself to think of God's purposes and not mine, of others and not myself. This is a good reminder. Like Dawn, I love the dyslexia of the divine phrase...we see things backwards, don't we?
    I pray you will have a fruitful week of writing and living out God's purposes. Gail

  4. So true Lori. And thanks for the way you did serve and the help you gave us. It is challenging to remember life's not all about us.

    1. Right you are, Martin. I've heard it said that we all want to serve God until we get treated like a servant. . . reminds me of your spot on observation in your "Christ's Shirt" devotion. Hm. . .am I seeing a theme here? Sounds like we're all learning the same lesson :o