With the New Year upon us, it means that we are in the season of ranking things. From shows that will rank the top plays in sports to newspapers that will rank the top people for the year. Then the bloggers will rank everything else under the sun, even their own blogs. I saw a show the other night ranking the best commercials for 2010. (I taped it so I could fast forward through the commercials.)
Since I fancy myself to be in the top 10 of pastors currently at our church, I thought I might offer some thoughts on this trend of ranking everything in life. I was thinking back through the books I have read this year. I started keeping track using an online tool where people can connect and discuss books together. (You can connect with me here.)
One of the books I read was called Angels by David Jeremiah. Since they are special messengers from God and have wings, I think I always assumed angels to be cooler than man. It’s mainly the wings since man is also a messenger of God. I’m not sure how you would put t-shirts on, but having wings is a definite game-changer. I’m just saying.
What if we were to rank different groups of people from the Bible? If we put angels at #1, because of their wings, we could round out the list like this.
#4. The Israelites, the chosen people.
#5. The rest of us.
Granted, since Jesus came, the rest of us could probably be 4a along with the Jewish people, but I think Kings go higher based on bling factor and Prophets go higher still based on their ability to say just about anything and sound awesome doing it.
But here’s what I found in 1 Peter 1:10-12. Peter is talking about the salvation that came to all men and he talks about how these prophets searched and found this great mystery of God. Peter says they revealed these things to us as a service to us. Oh, and “even angels long to look into these things” (1 Peter 1:13).
There goes my Top-5 list.
Ranking then, I think, is shortsighted. We rank something #1 and then overlook everything else.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We could rather choose to celebrate all of the great things in life and welcome the value of each one to the whole. It’s a celebration of diversity. From the colors of our skin to the many different talents God has given us, it seems that we have a lot to offer one another.
Could you imagine Jesus offering us a Top 10 of people? Granted that He did say one would sit on His right and one on His left, but Jesus seems to focus on what each one would do, regardless of the reward that will come.
Then you have the Apostle Paul, who many would deem top-10 worthy, calling himself the worst. He wrote very plainly that each part of the body has a function and that none should consider themselves better. (See Romans 14-15 and 1 Corinthians 12 and 14.)
No matter when we rise and fall in history.
No matter how we are viewed by our present peers.
No matter what we look like in comparison to others.
We are part of a larger community. Perhaps this year, instead of trying to figure out how high or low you rank in the eyes of man, you can spend your time figuring out how much God wants to do through you.Happy New Year!