I love to have fun. This affinity for fun runs deep, even within my home. My kids and I love to play games and compete with one another. We turn everything into a game or a competition; it doesn’t matter if we are cleaning the house, jumping on the trampoline, or simply getting into the car to go to school.
Every morning, my kids jockey with one another in order to be the first to call “shotgun” and get the distinct privilege of riding in the front seat, or more affectionately known as “shotgun.” We have set up rules for this special privilege. For instance, you can only call “shotgun” on the way to the car as we are actually about to load up and leave. Another rule is that you have to have all your stuff with you and be completely ready to leave at that moment. And lastly, everything must be cleaned up, you cannot run out of the house with your breakfast still sitting on the table either.
This started out as a fun game, until this morning when I stepped outside the door to find all of my school-aged children fully equipped with backpacks and lunch boxes, anxiously awaiting my presence to signal the official time to scream out, “SHOTGUN!” Then, they all began bickering about who actually called it first and positioning themselves at the front door of my truck. As I was thinking about who had actually earned this privilege and how to award the victor, I realized that I had not created an atmosphere of fun, but rather a celebration of selfishness. I immediately told them all to get in the back seat. As I pulled out of the driveway to head to school, I looked in the back seat at three disappointed faces. I then repented to them for setting up such a system that awards selfishness. All in the name of fun and competition, I had unknowingly cultivated in my children, “shotgun selfishness.” I then started thinking about all the other ways that we might promote and even reward selfishness in our home. This is not like Jesus at all. After all, Jesus came to serve others, not to be served by them (Mark 10.45). Jesus came to die, so that others might live. This whole thing had become very anti-gospel.
As you look through the book of Acts, the most blaring thing that you notice is the power of the Gospel that was going forth in the first century Church. The early church did not walk in power because they were educated and extraordinary people. No, the early church was extremely potent because they were incredibly self-less. They gave. They shared. They sacrificed. They considered others first. We cannot expect to partake in 1st century church power, if we continue to pursue 21st century priorities. May we die to our selfish games, which only give us more of ourselves, and take up the cross and gain more of Christ.