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How Placing Others First Brings Rest

By February 9, 2017June 24th, 2022Christian Living4 min read

My husband and I were all settled in our seats as our plane was boarding for a flight to Houston. Believe it or not, we had won a trip including flights, accommodations and tickets to the Super Bowl! We aren’t even sports fans, but, I mean, c’mon, it’s the Super Bowl, oh, and it was my birthday. God always gives the best gifts!

A woman came down the middle aisle with a worried look on her face.

It didn’t seem like anything was actually wrong, she just seemed like one of those people who always has a worried look on their face, know what I mean? You know that constant look of striving and worry?

So, the “Worried Woman” asked a gentleman if he wouldn’t mind moving back a row, so her husband could sit across the aisle from her. The man obliged without question. “Oh thank you so much!”, said the worry-faced woman, “I really appreciate that!” I grinned at this lovely gesture of human kindness that seems to be lacking these days. Then, a soft-spoken woman who was sitting in the middle of the row (now next to “Worried Woman’s” husband) piped up and said, “Oh, my husband is right there next to you. Would you be able to sit on that side together, so that my husband and I can sit together over here together?” “Worried Woman” seemed caught off guard and paused to think. Her worried face turned into an inconvenienced face and she said, “Oh no, I don’t want to sit in the middle.” I was struck at the way she had just been offered kindness but wasn’t willing to become uncomfortable in order to offer the same kindness to someone else.

Before you get all “I would never do that” on me, I am one step ahead of you, because I did the same thing. I shook my head and thought of a few things I wanted to say but kept them to myself. I quickly realized though…I can’t judge “Worried Woman,” because I’m a lot like her (insert nervous grimacing faced emoji here). OK folks, it’s confession time…If I’m bringing home donuts for my kids, I make sure I get my favorite one out of the box BEFORE I get home because kids are vultures. I want the closest parking spot when I go to the grocery store because walking is work, and groceries are heavy. I want the cushiest chair in my favorite coffee shop because…well did I mention it was the cushiest? And doggonit, I just want to watch Food Network, not the action packed movies my husband wants to watch…it also bears mentioning that I don’t want to share the french fries on my plate with him either! My point is, I am just as selfish as the woman on my flight was!

In order for us to be unselfish, we have to override our human desire to be catered to.

It’s not natural for us to want to serve others and make sure their needs are met before ours.

God’s Word says, “Consider others as more important than yourselves.” It’s tricky, but not impossible. I’ve found that the things that don’t come naturally to me aren’t impossible, they just take more practice. Usually when we practice something, we become better at it, right? It’s the same when cultivating an unnatural character of unselfishness.

If we make an effort to put others first, we’ll get better at it.

For example, let someone go in front of you in line at your favorite coffee shop, or maybe even drive right past that front parking spot so that someone else can enjoy a shorter walk. What?! But groceries are heavy! I know, I know, but just try it out. I think you may just find that you get better at it the more you do it. Not to mention when we put God in front of us and decide to honor Him and obey Him, He always gives us the will and the way. We can all learn a lesson from the woman with the permanent worried look on her face. Life is stressful when you’re always looking to see how you can get ahead. You can never rest when you’re striving to always come in first. So let’s all try letting others be more important for awhile. That includes me. I’ll even bring home my favorite donut for my kids to try before I devour it. What about you…you in?

Shannon Quintana is a wife, mom and worship leader. She is a worship leader at Refuge Calvary Chapel.