The First Will Be Last

1st will be lastHave you ever had your parking space stolen as you waited patiently for someone to pull out? Or maybe you thought you would get the promotion at work, but someone weasels their way into the position? Selfish and rude people can bull-dose their way into situations without consideration for others.

An awkward experience happened to me when I was on a trip to the Holy Land. Due to my extreme motion sickness I arranged with the pastor, bus driver, and the tour guide to sit in the front of the bus. After the first day of sitting in my seat, while we toured some of the biblical sites in Israel, we spent the night at a hotel.

To my horror, the next day I discovered a man and a woman occupying my seat in the bus. I politely mentioned that my mother and I sat there the previous day and that our belongings were above the seat. Abruptly they pointed across the aisle to another seat a couple of rows back and said we could sit there. Now I have to admit, no one announced that we had to remain in the same seats, but my mom and I had assumed we could sit there the entire time for me to avoid getting sick.

Facing the couple who stole our seats, I had a choice to make. Do I fight for my right or do I humble myself? My response could impact a bus full of eager Christians to see the Promise Land.  Would I choose to reflect the love of Jesus by letting the offense go and move forward with a good attitude? Furthermore, would I trust God to prevent me from motion sickness no matter where I sat?

Promise from God

Jesus said, “But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Matt. 20:16, Mark 9:35, 10:31).

Once I humbled myself to take another seat and resisted the temptation to nurse my bitterness, God gave me a different perspective. I saw their misery. Noticing that there was tension between the husband and wife, I began to pray for them. As time went on, I realized that the husband was asked by the pastor to journal the entire trip with photos and video, which caused a tremendous stress upon the couple. My heart changed as I saw things from the husband’s perspective to want to get a clear view by being upfront. I recognized his servant’s heart to document the trip and how that made his wife feel neglected and short-tempered.

By letting others go first, holding my negative thoughts captive, and praying for them, God showed me that someday I will be lifted up to a position of honor with a seat upfront in the throne room of heaven. With a good attitude, we had a spectacular time and I never got sick.

Dear Father God, I praise you for your promise that the first will be last and the last will be first. Help me to remember to put others first and to serve them. Help me to be humble so that I can be lifted up. Help me to see every situation from your perspective and to be sensitive to the pain, perspective, and personalities of others. Lord help me to remember to stop before I react, to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry so that I may glorify you. I want to be an example of Christ by showing the same humility, compassion, and grace for others that you show me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

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