Queuing has been called a British pastime. It is something that I personally find irritating. In traffic if one lane seems to be going faster there is a temptation to queue hop to try and get ahead.
For those who have battled their way through the London Underground at rush hour, there are queues everywhere. A form of queuing etiquette on the tubes escalators is that people stand to the left hand side leaving the right hand side free for people walk up or down who are in a hurry. However, a three-week trial run in December 2015 at London Underground Holborn station proved that if people stood on both sides of the escalator queues where reduced by 30% as more people could use them at the same time. The principle of everyone travelling together at the same pace means more people can travel without queuing. Rushing ahead means an individual gains at the expense of others.
In scripture there were those characters who wanted to rush ahead at the expense of others. The brothers James and John requested that they could sit closest to Jesus in His coming kingdom. They seemed to be jostling for position amongst the disciples wanting to push themselves ahead of the queue to Christ.
Jesus’ response to his disciples arguing as to who was the greatest was to say that “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:33). The ‘way of the world’ is to push ahead at the expense of others. Jesus turns this on its head saying that to be great is to serve others. On the cross Jesus showed us the ultimate example of this in His selfless sacrifice for our sin and shame so we can be right with God. Setting aside His glory in heaven He was and is the servant king.
At Holborn tube station, Transport for London are extending the trial for six months. They are working with the behavioural science department at the London School of Economics to develop a variety of messages to encourage commuters to follow the new rules. Tube staff will even be using megaphones to encourage commuters to change their queuing culture and stand on the left and the right. Yet even with the evidence of its benefits 63% of people in an Evening Standard online survey are against the idea. It seems the ‘get ahead of others at any costs’ culture is going to be hard to change.
I wonder if we can see the wisdom of honouring one another that changes the culture of where we live, work and move? What a megaphone can’t change I believe Jesus can. But it takes people to take His servant mandate to heart and living it out.
If I started to be more patient in the car, at the supermarket checkout, on an escalator, honouring and preferring others perhaps in a very everyday small way there is a sense of God’s Kingdom coming and His will being done. To see Jesus’ culture change our nation for His glory, it means a change of attitude in the small and big things. Being faithful to Jesus in the small things so we can be faithful to Him in the big things. My prayer is that we will honour one another in everything, that God will be honoured even when queuing.