But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. (Matthew 23:5-7)
People loving position isn’t a new concept. Location, location, location. We want to be respected, and location—whether it’s a physical location or a position of recognition—seems to bring respect alongside it.
Sometimes we seek a location because we think we deserve it, or we’ve occupied it for so long that we think we have a right to it. (Not to step on anyone’s toes here, but what about those “saved” seats at church that have no visible names on them, but we all know who sits in them?) Some positions and locations we intentionally seek out and others we just keep a tight grasp on once we have them. In fact, we’re a little surprised that we’re as attached to them as we are. Since we didn’t really try to get there, who knew we’d actually want to stay there once we arrived.
Losing position seems to equal losing respect. But that’s only when we put the respect of others above respect from God. God respects us with His lavish love when we are just where He intends for us to be. And because He wants us to constantly grow, we’re not going to be in the exact location or position for long. He changes us even when our surroundings don’t seem to change. God doesn’t need real estate; he uses people to change the world. We are His people. We are His vessels. But we have to be willing to be used and changed.
The men Jesus was admonishing in these verses loved the place of honor. They loved receiving respectful greetings, being called by titles with authority. But God is pleased with our service. He values humility. He works through us as we submit to His will. If we’re more focused on where we are, what others think of us, and what names of respect they call us, we are turning God’s priorities around. We cannot seek the positions of the world and find contentment and purpose in where God has us. We cannot seek the respect and authority among people and expect that God’s respect and authority will follow.
The position we need to love the best is the position in which God places us—right now. It will change, but it doesn’t change because we want it to change. It changes because God changes us and moves us in the process.
God’s position for us isn’t just about where we are but it’s who we are in relationship with Him. He is our Creator. We are the created. He is God. We are not. He is Father. We are His children. He is Master. We serve Him.
When we try to usurp position, we will always end up losing. Just because it looks like we got what and where we want, we don’t necessarily win. We lose when we’re not in God’s will. We lose out on what He wants to give us. We miss out on the abundance of His love.
But it’s never too late to start where you are and go with God to the next place or season of Your life. It’s never too late to yield to Him and follow His will, stepping into the footprints He’s laid out for us. Following God isn’t easy or convenient, but it’s worth it. If you want to love position, love the position God places you in. He knows what He’s doing.
Dear God, I want to be just where you know is best for me for this moment and season of my life. It might not be where I most want to be in my flesh, but above all, I want my desires to be consumed with Your desires. I want to fully submit to You. Use me where You have me. Help me not to crave a position or location that isn’t intended to be mine. I trust You, and I yield to You.