Kids offer a refreshing transparency. At a birthday party, it came time to serve the cake. A little boy named Brian blurted out, “I want the biggest piece!” His mother quickly scolded him. “Brian, it’s not polite to ask for the biggest piece.” The little guy looked at her in utter confusion, and asked, “Well then, how do you get it?” Brian wasn’t going to allow his appetite to be suppressed by something so trivial as proper etiquette. He saw his mother’s rebuke as a temporary setback.
While I admire Brian’s determination, I’ve often seen the grown-up version of this attitude wreak havoc in friendships and organizations. Watch out for the guy who has to have the biggest piece of the pie. He’ll slash away with fork and knife to gain his objective. I’ve seen grown men throw away their families, and scuttle their reputations in their scrambling to get the biggest piece of the cake. Paul instructed the Romans to honor others above themselves. We catch glimpses of Paul modeling this noble behavior in his praise for Timothy, Luke, and Epaphroditus.
Can you think of a time when you’ve stepped aside to let another have the big piece of cake? I think there may be a connection between big slices and small people.