Me First!

John Koedyker

Read: Mark 9:33-35

If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all. (v. 35)

Since our first years playing with siblings at home or kids at school, we have repeated those familiar words again and again—“Me first!” Nobody wants to be last. Leo Durocher, the legendary major league baseball manager, once remarked while referring to a rival team that “nice guys finish last.”

Our self-centered, selfish human nature tells us: “Be aggressive!” “Look out for number one.” That mentality was also shared by the disciples of Jesus. An argument had broken out between the disciples about who was the greatest. When Jesus asked them about it, they were a bit ashamed of themselves. They should have known Jesus would not approve. Indeed, he did not! “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” This attitude was really a hallmark of our Lord’s teaching. Another occasion, when the mother of James and John asked if her sons could sit at the right hand and left hand of Jesus “in his kingdom” (Matt. 20:20-21), she too was met with a similar response (vv. 22-28).

“Others first” is a challenge for us human beings. But it is the Jesus way. It is the way of humility first set down by Jesus himself. So Paul likewise instructs us, that we are to have the same attitude of our Lord and “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant” than ourselves (Phil. 2:3). —John Koedyker

Prayer: Lord, help us really and truly to put others first. Amen.