That Is My Parking Space
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3 NKJV
We are warned in the Bible to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought. This is a warning that unfortunately has fallen upon deaf ears for most of us. Oh, we like to think of ourselves unselfish and considerate of others, and we convince ourselves of this reality. However, the evidence of our actions demonstrates to us and to those who see us, of the difficulty we have in this flesh in not thinking selfishly of ourselves first and sometimes only.
Here is an everyday example for us. When you go to the store and you are looking for a parking space, how often are you circling and circling looking for the closet space available? The reality is that you are not thinking of others, you are thinking of self. You are considering yourself and benefiting yourself instead of thinking of how you might benefit others. The first time I ever parked in a space because it was the closest space available I then saw an older person walking to the store from a farther distance because I had taken the better space, I knew there was a serious flaw in my mindset.
We are always quick to rationalize our decisions when we find that we are thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to. Sure when you see a great space close to the store we say to ourselves the Lord has blessed me! But actually, it is an opportunity for you to be a blessing to someone else and show Jesus that you are developing a heart after His own heart, a heart that thinks of others first and sacrifices for others.
It is easy to tell ourselves when we find a close space, well if I leave the space for an older person, the odds are far better that the next car to come by will be one driven by a young able bodied person, who will just claim the spot I left for an older person. So since the older person will not benefit from my sacrifice anyway, I might as well just take the spot. That is thinking of yourself more highly than you ought. God is not asking you to worry about what the next person does; He is only concerned regarding you, in what you do in that situation.
This is but one example where we are trained to think of ourselves and claim the best for ourselves. We do this time and time again throughout the day. Let’s begin to examine our hearts and soberly consider how we might consider others before thinking of ourselves. Is that a hard thing to do? Of course, it is because it is opposed to what the flesh wants. The good news is that He says through the grace of Jesus we are able to follow His example and think of others before self. When you live this lifestyle, you will find that blessing others affords Jesus the opportunity to bless you. His blessings and favor far surpass the little daily selfish benefits we claim ourselves.
J Todd Hostetler