Scrambling to be always first will sometimes land you dead last.
I love watching teachers. I do a great deal of observations and sometimes my ‘God lessons’ are taught while on the playground.
Recently, while observing on the playground at a school, a teacher called all of her kids to line up. Kids came running from everywhere. They were all scrambling to be first – pushing – telling each other to get out of the way – leaving their friends behind - whining to the teacher that someone got in front of them – and pouting when they didn’t make it. There were a few kids who lagged behind and didn’t push and shove – they were not forceful in their attempt to push others out of the way – they were content and not aggressive at their approach to be ‘me first’. Those are the kids who looked as if they didn’t have as much confidence in their ability to run and make it to the front of the line and were a little timid in their abilities to be assertive. They ran hard trying to make it in a way that was thoughtful of others around them and not thinking of themselves first.
These kids seemed satisfied to let others be first because it made them happy.
After the kids were lined up, the teacher, being a top notch teacher, she did something that surprised them all. After she had their attention, the teacher said, “Kids, I want you now to turn around and face the other way. We are going back that way and the line leader is in the back.” I had to laugh at the shock on the faces of the ones in line near the teacher and the timid smile on the new line leader’s face who was seemingly last in line. This child seemed to find a new confidence that she too was important, a relief that she would not be left behind and would now get to showcase her ability to be leader without being aggressive to others in her approach.
I heard a pastor recently tell the story of Abraham and Lot. In Genesis 13, it talks about Abraham giving Lot his choice of land – verse 9 says “if you go to the left I’ll go the right”. In other words – you take whatever you want and I’ll take what’s left – it’s okay. Of course, greedy Lot took what looked to be the best, which, in the end, turned out to be facing Sodom and Gomorrah and you know what happened to those cities.
Abraham didn’t scramble for the best – he had a relaxed confidence in God to take him to what was best for him.
Matthew 20:16 confirms this by saying “and the last will be first and the first will be last.” Sometimes what looks best and what we are scrambling to have is not God’s best. I, myself need to relax like Abraham – having confidence that God has it under control.
I do not have to scramble for what I think is best for me and panic that I will be left behind. There is NO way that God will let that happen – in fact when I get there….he may turn the line around.
My prayer today:
Father God, I need a relaxed confidence in you. In your ability to take care of me, to guide me, and to open doors without me shoving them open. There is no way that you will let your children down. There is no way that you will allow us to be left behind. You are capable of opening doors without us aggressively bulldozing our way in. Sometimes what we think is best is actually the worst thing that could happen. You see the future and you only have the best in store for us. The best is not fame and fortune – the best is to walk closely to you and make you proud.
I love you dearly. Amen.