Challenge for the week: You be Jesus

Published 1:08 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2012

By KEN LETSON / Guest Columnist

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  — Matthew 20:28

A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5, and Ryan, 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake.

Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.’”

Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!”

I’ve discovered that it’s not just 5-year olds that come up with such logic. As much as we all may believe that Jesus has set us an example of servanthood, and taught us to follow “in His steps” in putting others first, we often wait for the other guy to be Jesus.

Whether it be two little boys arguing over breakfast, or two supposed grown-ups, married to one another but posturing to see who gets their way, it’s easy to expect somebody else to be Jesus.

We’d rather not have to give up anything, and we’re always afraid that if we don’t take care of ourselves first, who will? It’s the way of the world, you know.

But we’re not of this world. Our King has taught us not to look out for ourselves, but for others. He taught the radical idea that greatness comes not through power, but through servanthood. But if we just hear that message on Sundays, or theorize over it, and don’t put it into practice in the difficult struggles of real-life relationships, then we no more believe it than the world we live in that would think the whole idea absurd.

Here’s the challenge this week for those Christ-followers who seek to live out your faith where you are, be it at home, or at church, or in the marketplace. You be Jesus. Don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk.  Love others unconditionally. Give your life away.  Serve them, selflessly.  Let them have the first pancake, even.

Reflect the character of the one who gave His all for you, as you live a life of grateful obedience to Him.

The Rev. Ken Letson is senior pastor of the Church at Shelby Crossings in Calera. You can reach him at