Psalm 35 • Exodus 4:10-31 • 1 Corinthians 14:1-19 • Mark 9:30-41
In Mark 9:30-41, Jesus says whoever desires to be first shall be last.
So, I’ve been first and I’ve been last. Wherever I perceive myself to be (first, last, in the middle), I feel better about the place I’ve landed when I’ve been myself, when a desire to please or impress wasn’t present. But, just like feelings, our sense of placement is temporary and it is always in our head, whether or not our “standing” is something observable by others. It just doesn’t matter. God doesn’t ask us to be first, just to be. From that place of accepting our self, as imperfect as we are, and knowing we are worthy and loved by God, we can love and serve others, can see them as who they are—and, that is what God desires for us.
There is great freedom in just being. The relief can be tremendous when we stop trying to be something we’re not. And, in being, we can more easily enter into relationships with, and serve, others. Gregory Boyle, a Jesuit priest who works with gang members in Los Angeles, suggests, “Our choice is not to focus on the narrow, but to narrow our focus. The gate that leads to life is not about restriction at all. It is about an entry into the expansive. There is a vastness in knowing you’re a son/daughter worth having.” Don Miguel Ruiz encourages us to “. . . Be authentic. Be the presence. Be happiness. Be love. Be joy. Be yourself; that’s the main point. That’s wisdom.”
So, as I wake up tomorrow morning, what if I asked, “Do I want to be first or be myself?” I think that if I allow the latter, which is what God intends, then being “first” or “last” will not matter because I’ll be in relationship with God and others and that’s a place that will always be just fine in the eye of God.
― Tim Rambo