There is a unique (i.e. None like it in the world!) cemetery in front of the Eastern walls in Jerusalem. It is said to be the biggest cemetery in all of Israel. Inside it is filled with those that believe if they are buried there that they will meet Jesus “First” upon His return.
As I passed the cemetery, all I could think was, “these must all be Type A personalities”. You know, the types that always want to be first, rush to get ahead, push the grave deeper and the tombstone higher, types… These are those, that even in their grave – they want to be first in line to meet Jesus. No 360 degree leader here- NO, they want to stand in the front of the line against all humanity.
Sounds kinda crazy, right?! But what about you? Are you considered a type A, cutting edge, push it forward – fight to the finish- even in death-personality? In business, commerce, and innovation- those are great compliments, but in Christianity—ummm, not so much. 😔
The Bible teaches, the first will be last and the last will be first. Jesus may just mess with us all and return in such a unique way that He makes those , who are ‘dead in Christ- in the First Class cemetery to Heaven’ – Be last.
I don’t know about you, but to my demise, I find myself too often identifying with the “pushy” part of those found in this “first class” cemetery . I struggle each and every day to learn patience, to consciously put others before myself, and to be intentional in trusting God. I, too often, struggle with NOT being first and with being content to serve in such a way that I am content in being last. In fact, when I serve others (this way) I identify with Jesus more and find it easier to trust Him with other things I can’t control.
Though He was the first and only Son of God, Jesus always counted himself least and last. He even had a supper called, ‘The LAST supper.’😂🧐
Jesus reiterated throughout scripture that He came to serve and not be served. Jesus never put His needs above others. In fact, He did the opposite.
When the masses were hungry, even though He had not eaten all day- He asked His father God to bless the multiplication of fish and loaves to feed the masses- First.
He frequently would be on his way to a certain city, and would be stopped and asked to heal and help those in deep need. He always stopped, served, and met the needs of others- First.
In Matthew 19:29-30 the disciples asked what their reward would be for giving up all to follow Him? “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
He never promised, even the most dedicated, self sacrificing, abandoned, disciples a “First Class” spot in heaven.
He did, though, tell us we would be rewarded in this life and the life to come, to the extent that we are continually blessed when we serve and receive more than we ever give.
And His principal stands. With Jesus it is never about being FIRST and pushing our way to the front. Fundamentally that is the wrong approach. It is also the wrong question to ask, “How can I be First?” We should be asking, “ Jesus, how can I put others FIRST?”
Let me encourage you today–take a step back in the line, let the rushed lady at Wal-mart-have your spot, or just look for an intentional way to serve those around you. –First.
If we are going to really make an impact for Jesus in this world, we need to learn to model Jesus, especially in our serving others- First!
Lord, I pray, help me not be known more for my pushiness, than my servanthood