Sunday, October 27, 2019

Persona Non Au Gratin

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

Do you know how glorious it is to speak at an event that’s directed by a thoughtful and gracious event coordinator? Near-heaven. Chauffeured about, fed the best meals from the finest restaurants, then transported to a posh hotel with a gorgeous gift basket already waiting. Mint-on-the-pillow kind of stuff. Oh how I like being treated like a queen. No one knows better than I do that I don’t deserve it. But I still like it.  

Through the years, there were a few whiplashes back to reality upon arriving back home. One second I’d be signing books and greeting the complimentary crowds, the next, walking in the door to my five kids who would send me a deadpan, “Oh Mom, it’s you. I’m glad you’re home--‘cuz we’re out of bread. And nobody cleaned the cat box. And somebody must’ve spilled a bunch of milk inside the fridge ‘cuz it smells nasty in there, too.” 

I’m suddenly “persona non au gratin”—no longer the big cheese. It’s so funny that I can go straight from the applause of a gracious audience to cleaning the cat box. 

While I admit I’ve loved my short reigns as queen, I have to tell you, there’s always been something quite comfortable about coming home to bread-fetching, milk-mopping and cat-box-cleaning servitude. The whole time my kids were growing up it was like I was living with an entire brigade of pride police—and that was not a bad thing. 

Humility can be so tricky. Once you realize you have it, it’s probably a point of pride—and then it’s gone. The best way to stay humble is to stay focused on Christ, our example. We’re told in Philippians 2:5-8 to have His attitude. “Let this same attitude and purpose band humble mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus:  Let Him be your example in humility. Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God, possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God. 

God, did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, But stripped Himself of all privileges and rightful dignity, so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself still further and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!” (AMP)

Jesus. True royalty, not my faux kind. He is rightly called the King of all kings. Yet this passage tells us that He didn’t hang on to those rights as royalty. He pushed them aside on our behalf and took on servant status. Imagine leaving the splendor of a Heaven, beyond any five-star-plus hotel, to serve and to unselfishly give His life. 

I really do want to be like Him. I want to humbly serve before any crowd. And I want to humbly serve as I did when I loaded my shopping cart with four gallons of milk. Also everything in between. The Message phrases Proverbs 15:33b this way: “First you learn humility, then you experience glory.” By His grace, there’s glory before the crowds. I truly believe that in humble surrender, by His grace, there can be glory at the cat box too.


Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist for lots of great magazines, including HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and more. She is the author of 10 nonfiction books, including How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person? and coauthors fiction with her daughter, Kaley Faith Rhea. She and her daughters host the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ. Rhonda enjoys traveling the country speaking at all kinds of conferences and events. She and her pastor/hubs have five grown children and live in the St. Louis area.

1 comment:

  1. Anyone who knows you realizes you are still "persona au gratin" Ms. Rhonda. The amazing part is that you fill the role so well using the humble spirit of a servant of God young lady. God's blessings. Now about that smelly fridge? What's your fix? I'm pretty sure a Pepe Le Pew is hiding out in mine.