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Saturday, June 5, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Ephesians 6

There are lots of different ways that you can learn about a person’s character. I certainly use a lot of standards ways to gauge someone’s character (i.e. match their words versus their actions, how they treat people society might deem “unimportant”, etc.). For the past decade I’ve been using at least one non-standard way to gauge someone’s character. That way will probably seem silly at face value.

That non-standard way?

Where a person parks when they pull into a parking area. Let me tell you why (and how) I use that as a gauge.

My use of where a person parks grew out of a practice that was observed by the Conference Office of The United Methodist Church back in Denver. Just outside the front door, there was a primo parking spot. That parking spot was marked “Reserved for Bishop.”

Every time I would pass that designated parking spot, the hairs on the back of my neck would go up - for such a practice went against everything I learned about Jesus and his values (i.e. the last shall be first; and the first, last). I thought to myself, “If a leader has any parking spot designate for her/himself, it should be the one furthest from the door (unless there are mobility issues involved for the individual).”

Since then, I’ve spent the last twelve years watching individuals and their parking practices and using it as one method for gaining a little insight into a person’s character.

So what’s this got to do with today’s reading?

Well, in the culminating words to the Ephesians, the author of the passage addresses the ways we should act within the context of our relationships. One of the relationships the author addresses is the one between master and servant. Even in the context of THAT relationship – a relationship predicated on a complete imbalance of power – the author notes: “You are your servants are both under the same Master in heaven. [God] makes no distinction between you and them.”

Those words remind me that when it comes to the Reign of God, there are truly no distinctions between individuals. Words like “bishop”, “conference minister”, “pastor”, and “committee chair” don’t mean a lot in the bigger scheme of things. What matters most is the way we treat one another as well as the way we think about ourselves in relationship to one another.

As you spend your day running around today, watch yourself when you pull into a parking lot. See what parking spot you gravitate toward. Do you pick the spot that is closest to the door and most convenient for you; or do you make a point of considering the needs of others. You might gain an interesting insight into yourself and your real values through this “silly” little exercise.

Til next time…

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