Pride of Place

3 John 5-10
"Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, 6 who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, 7 because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles. 8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth. 9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. 10 Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church."

3 John gives us a stark contrast. John commends Gaius for hosting the saints. John John condemns Diotrophes, who does the opposite – he does not receive some believers in friendship, and he tries to get others to reject them, too. He does this because he loves to be first, or to have the preeminence. Seeking pride of place always shows itself in rejecting some whom God has not rejected. Seeking pride of place always shows itself in speaking malicious words against the rejected. Satan fell from heaven seeking the first place – God’s place. The Sadducees fell from power because they clung to their first place when the rightful king came along. And we will fall whenever we vaunt ourselves over others. If you want to be first, go last. If you want to lead, serve. It is the most natural thing in the world for a group of people like us after we are together for a few years like we have been, to start fighting over position and place. But the Holy Spirit equips us by God’s grace to conquer that sinful tendency. Let us confess it now, and resolve to help each other fight it in the future.


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