Philippians 2:5–11 / Luke 14:15–24
Who’s On First?
"Who's on First?" is a comedy routine made most famous by Abbot and Costello. The premise of the routine is that Abbott is identifying the players on a baseball team to Costello, but their names and nicknames can be interpreted as non-responsive answers to Costello's questions. It’s a farcical exercise in misinterpretation and misunderstanding.
There is an understanding gap that could go by the same title that is far worse and much more serious between faith-filled Christians and those without faith. The issue for each of us is simply who’s on first? The unbelieving world tells us to take care of Number One. The assumption is that every person naturally puts himself in first place.
We live in a society that is self-obsessed. It seems that everything is oriented to personal safety, personal comfort, and personal convenience. We are invited to believe that no one should have to wait more than 90 seconds in a fast food line. A true catastrophe can turn people into hysterics or mad mobs. It’s all about me....
This is the underlying reason the people in Jesus’ story did not respond positively to the dinner invitation: they each had something that was personally more important to them. An honest look at our daily calendars (or our bank receipts) can show us our true priorities.
St Paul exhorts the Philippians –– and through him the Holy Spirit tells us –– that Christians are to be people who have the same attitude as Christ Jesus: Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather.... he humbled himself.... Jesus did not put himself first.
Every day we are faced with multitudes of little decisions –– and sometimes big decisions. May the Holy Spirit give us “the same attitude as Christ Jesus” so that we regularly ask ourselves: Who’s on first? The unbelieving world may not understand. We may appear as ridiculous as Abbot and Costello. But as we put Jesus first, we can live in the hope of being present at that Heavenly Banquet where every tongue [will] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.