Lessons from the Litter Box

Everyone wants to be great—even if it is just a little bit!

That’s what makes it so hard to be the one who always ends up cleaning the litter box. It just doesn’t jive with greatness.

I don’t think there were litter boxes in Jesus’ day, but if there had been He’d be the one cleaning them out.

Talk of the kingdom had put delusions of grandeur in the heads of some of Jesus’ disciples—and their relatives. On one occasion, the mother of James and John came to Jesus to ask Him to put her sons in positions of greatness when He established His kingdom (Matthew 20:21).

Jesus’ reply would not have been understood until later. He said “You don’t know what you are asking…Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” (20:22).

They were thinking Bordeaux, and He was meaning suffering, when they replied, “We can” (20:22).

This conversation, fueled by the furor of the others when they realized that someone else had thought to make the request before they did, led to a teaching opportunity.

Jesus replied: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many” (20:25-28).

We stumble over the concept. The world insists that greatness is in no way associated with servanthood. We are programmed from childhood to succeed as the world succeeds. There is nothing essentially wrong with success as society measures it. Success is more about attitude than accomplishment, or the lack thereof.

It's more about feeling good when faced with a litter box because the act of service to God’s creatures, however humble (and messy), is done for His sake as much as it is for theirs.

The litter box is only an example (just because I had to clean two of them out this morning) but you get the point. The humblest of acts, the least noticed, the often unrewarded, the most difficult at times, done with joy in the name of the Lord are those things that demonstrate the spirit of the kingdom.

And in the end everybody, though they might not think of it earlier, appreciates a clean litter box.


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