Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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The first will be last, and the last will be first

Many that are first will be last, and the last will be first. (Mark 10:31)

Do you ever fish for compliments? When we have done something really admirable or we have an ability that we’re really proud of, it can be tempting to draw attention to it. Even when we fight the temptation, we can promote ourselves in our own minds, imagining the compliments we would like to receive.

After Jesus announced how difficult it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God in today’s Gospel reading, Peter piped up with some compliment fishing of his own: “We have given up everything and followed you” (Mark 10:28). It’s as if he were saying, “Give us some credit here!” But Jesus cut him off, maybe in an effort to save Peter from embarrassing himself. Yes, you have done well, he said, and you will be rewarded.

But then Jesus spoke a simple sentence, easy to repeat, easy even to understand, but hard to take in fully: “Many that are first will be last, and the last will be first” (Mark 10:31). Peter had learned the way of the gospel as far as giving up everything to follow the Lord. But he had not yet learned that Jesus calls us to give up even our desire to achieve, our striving to be first. He calls us, in fact, to follow him all the way to the cross.

As we approach Easter, let’s keep this verse in mind. God is calling you to free yourself from the world and your fallen nature a little bit more. He is calling you to devote yourself to him and his kingdom a little more. But it’s easy to become proud of your achievements and, like Peter, want to promote yourself.

You don’t have to argue your case before God! He sees everything you do for him, and he delights in all of it—even the smallest act of self-giving. He loves you. He wants to draw you close to himself. He rejoices in everything you do that brings you one step closer to him. So stop trying to put yourself forward. Rather, imitate him by preferring the back of the line. Don’t worry; he’ll find you. And when he does, he will usher you right into his kingdom!

“Lord, draw me to yourself more completely during this season; help there to be more of you and less of me.”

1 Peter 1:10-16; Psalm 98:1-4

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