Learning to Be Last
Posted on Sep 14, 2021 by Shari Van Baale
He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:35-37)
No one wants to be last. Little kids often fight over who will get the coveted role of “line leader.” They also argue over who will get to ride in the front of the car. When you are first, you get to choose before everyone else, and usually get the best of what is offered. When you are in the front seat of the car, you get to see everything first.
Then there are those who prefer to be last. I am one of those types of people. I prefer to wait in the back, letting everyone else go before I take my turn. Perhaps it is because of low self esteem, feeling like everyone else deserves to go before me. Perhaps it is a result of being forced to the front too many times as a kid. I prefer to stay unnoticed, patiently waiting until the crowd disappears and then taking what is left.
As a mom, like most moms I make sure my kids have what they want before I take my portion. At meals, I might take a little less so everyone else gets what they want first. That is just my nature.
Jesus wants us to be a leader by serving others. The disciples valued position, wanting to be his “right-hand man,” but Jesus is saying it is not about who is most honored. As it says in the book of Matthew, “the last shall be first, and the first last.” There are many other examples in the Bible of someone other than the first receiving greater reward.
So the next time there is a rush to be first, stop and think about why you feel it is so important to get that coveted first place. You might be a better witness to others by learning to be last.
Shari Van Baale