Dear Tailgating Driver,
I get it. You have somewhere to be. And you needed to be there 5 minutes ago.
And, obviously, you getting there is more important than traffic laws or the personal safety of everyone in my minivan.
But here’s the thing. I’m not going to speed up.
You may ride close enough for me to see your sunglasses and hair-style in my rear-view mirror….
You may honk in annoyance…..
Or weave back and forth like you would pass me in a second if that solid yellow line just had a few dots in it…
But I won’t be pushed along faster than I intend to go. I don’t want to be pulled into some mysterious competition to see who gets ahead and I won’t let you set the pace of our little road trip.
So, I’ll purposefully hang right at the speed limit and not go any faster.
And, you know what, I’ll even pull over and let you go by.
That’s right. I will step aside and simply conceded defeat.
Yes, Mr. Impatient Driver, congratulations. You are faster than me. You are speedier and sportier.
If you want so badly to get where you are going, be my guest. I’ll just continue along behind you without all the stress and bother.
The inner voice of justice might be screaming at me to do otherwise.
I was there first, after all. I have important places to go, too.
I was going the speed limit and not plodding along at 15 MPH or anything, so what’s the big deal?
Someone needs to teach you a lesson!
Where are the state police when you need them? Doesn’t anybody see how right I am and how wrong you are?
But is it worth it?
Seems pretty pointless to fight over who gets to the red light or the stop sign first.
So, you win.
And thanks really, for reminding me that there’s no point to any of the seemingly endless competitions we get pushed into by people tailgating our lives.
Do we need to vie for the position as the Best Mom, Best Wife, Most Stylish, Smartest, Most Used by God, Best Blogger, Best Cake Baker and Craft Maker, Most Professional, Most Educated, Most Awarded?
Does any of that really matter?
Sometimes, we find ourselves in the middle of a competition and we’re not even sure how we got there. Someone just seems determined to show us up and put us down.
Maybe they are criticizing us behind our back and spreading rumors.
Maybe they’ve taken credit for our ideas at work or covered over our contribution to a project.
Maybe they’ve courted the attention of the boss and now receive special privileges and honor at the expense of others.
Maybe they never cease to brag about their life while making us feel insignificant and inferior.
I’ll admit it. Some part of me wants to fight back to defend my honor and my worth. Might as well throw down the gauntlet and just compete already. After all, “she started it.”
Even in ministry, the struggle is there.
Our motives seem so pure, like wanting to share this message God has given us and bring Him glory, but somehow pride sneaks in. We feel like people need to hear what we have to say, so it’s okay to shove others aside and muscle our way to the front.
According to Paul, though, that’s not what love does.
He says, love:
“does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV).
Love is a humble serving, a self-sacrificing consideration of others, a putting other people first and letting them pass by to sit in a seat of honor or be the first to cross the finish line.
I love The Message paraphrase of Philippians 2:3-4 also:
“Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (Philippians 2:3-4 MSG).
So, in love, we may choose to step aside. Let someone else pass.
Love says, “Here, be my guest.”
Because, for all their pushing and shoving to get ahead, and all their tailgating, honking efforts to pass you by, here’s the bottom line:
God loves the humble.
Only He chooses whom to put down and whom to exalt.
For exaltation comes neither from the east
Nor from the west nor from the south.
But God is the Judge:
He puts down one,
And exalts another. Psalm 75:6-7 NKJV
We can leave it to Him and trust Him with our ministry, our calling, our work, our reputation. All of it.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.