Society puts an incredible amount of emphasis on being the first. We want to be first in everything. Jobs, grades, status, promotions, races, sports, art, music charts, competitions… you name it. We want to be first. Even though when we were younger we were taught that first is the worst and second is the best (and third is the one with the treasure chest/hairy chest/wedding dress… seriously, who comes up with these?), society tells us that anything short of first is losing. If we don’t beat everyone else, we lose. However, life in the Kingdom is quite different.
I think God wants us to be first too, but not in the way society wants us to be. Society is all about making ourselves look better and helping ourselves. I think God wants us to be the first in other things.
I can think of some examples from Jesus’ life where He was first, and after all, aren’t we supposed to do what Jesus did?
Jesus was the first to get down and wash his disciples feet.
Jesus was the first to believe that Peter could walk to Him on the water.
Jesus was the first to show vulnerability and fear in his prayer in the garden.
Jesus was the first to heal everyone who was sick.
Jesus was the first to help and feed the poor.
Jesus was the first to tell people about the Kingdom.
Jesus was the first to die for those He loves.
Jesus was the first at a lot of things and the Bible tells us to be imitators of Him. So maybe we should be first, but instead of being first in selfish things, maybe we’re supposed to be first to bring hope to the hopeless, to believe in people no one else will believe in, to show vulnerability and transparency so people know it’s okay to be broken, to help the needy, and to tell people about Jesus’ Kingdom.
Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when he said, “he who will be first will be last, and he who will be last will be first.” Maybe if we put ourselves second, we’ll actually be in first.