Being First

     “Whoever wants to be first, shall be last and servant of all.”  This is what Christ said to the apostles who were discussing who among them would be greatest.
     Being last must be different for all people.  Maybe it means not receiving honors or promotions at one’s workplace, and accepting this well.  Maybe it means not being friends with someone you really wish would like you, and surrendering your desire to God.  Maybe it means not getting to succeed in some way that feels important to you, and relinquishing this success for some higher good.
     I have these experiences all the time.  It is always something different: doing a job and feeling overlooked, being unwanted by a potential friend, feeling unappreciated, feeling inferior to professionals in what would have been my field.
     But I rejoice, for God is so good to those of us who are “last”!  He gives such sweet consolation.
     For the Christian message to be about a person who was a failure on so many worldly levels, and yet who succeeded only because He was always in the will of His Father, is profound.  Imagine promoting a whole religion about a man who was put to death for scandalizing His own people!  What are the chances of the success of such a religion!  If I were going to promote someone, I would promote someone who had succeeded in at least SOME way!  But Jesus was truly the one who was “last.”  He was stripped of all honor, all public affection, all political success, and all friendship.  He had no money, no title, no office, and ultimately, was denied his own life.
     Yet He is the Rock of my heart, the Pillar of my world.  He is first in my life.
     It is a radical life, a paradoxical one, and one in which it is impossible to keep one’s comforts and status and prestige and still be on His road, in the Father’s will.    
     Oh, how I love Him.