This is a challenging and convicting post that will help in self-examination as we consider whether you or I “have to be first,” from Dr. William Barrick. You can read part of it below.
“I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us” (3 John 9, NKJV). The Greek philoproteuo refers to love of being leader, dominant, preeminent, or first. Such an individual is self-absorbed, egocentric, and controlling–he loves to micromanage others. It is good to stop and examine oneself in this regard. Am I a Diotrephes? How do I come across to others? Do those with whom I serve in the church or with whom I work in my place of employment think of me as controlling? Through a grueling session of self-examination I asked the following questions about myself, in order to find out whether I sometimes behave like Diotrephes:
- Do I monopolize corporate prayer time when I am praying with fellow believers? If I do, it might indicate that I really think that my praying is more important or more spiritual than my prayer companions. That makes me a Diotrephes
- Do I dominate conversations? Do I make certain that at least my viewpoint is heard on every matter, even if others are not? Speaking out in every occasion could be a clue that I think pretty highly of my opinion and desire that others hear it–even if it means that others might not be given the opportunity to be heard. Do I especially bring attention to myself when a significant visitor has joined a meeting by asking questions of him/her and inserting myself into the conversation? If I do so, then I am a Diotrephes.
- Do I dominate discussions at Bible studies? Do I help to promote myself as “the answer man” by making certain that I speak in every forum on every issue? If so, I am a Diotrephes.
- Do I insist that things be done my way? Do I maneuver to get placed on a committee or sub-group to decide policy in order that things get accomplished my way and that the policies are my way of doing things? Such behavior might indicate that I think of myself as the only discerning member of that group (church, board, school, home Bible study, faculty, business, etc.). That makes me a Diotrephes
- Do I show up late, make people wait, or force people to keep to my schedule? If I do, I am acting like Diotrephes.
- Do I always take things to the top of the ladder of authority? Do I constantly avoid yielding to the sub-structure of authority? Perhaps it is because I think that I belong with the top dogs, the big boys, the big wheels. That makes me a Diotrephes.
- Do I “play the politics” and do everything to keep my name and my face and my voice visible to the leadership and the members of a church, a class, a group, a society, an association, or a fellowship in which I participate? Do I sometimes even work to not include others in the opportunities that might come my way? This kind of behavior on my part might indicate that I desire to be in leadership and seek to promote myself so that I obtain that leadership role. If so, I am a Diotrephes.
- Do I do what I can to see that I am served, rather than serving? Do I feel like I really deserve to be served? That makes me a Diotrephes.
(HT: Michael Daily)