The first and most.
These two words define our world. They defined me in my past and still cry out from my flesh. They blind us of the glory of the gospel. A gospel that wants to turn our value system upside down.
Being “first and most” fits in with a modern view of success and importance. We fool ourselves into thinking we’re missing out on life by not partaking in a worldly view that will ultimately leave us empty. Putting ourselves first and making the most out of “me-almighty” is a great way to be “puffed up” but a terrible way to live life.
But truthfully, living that way comes natural to me. Until I met Christ I lived as a young man convinced that I must become first – get ahead of everyone else by any means necessary, take part in the game of life along with everyone else by seeking pleasure in temporary, unfulfilling things.
Make much of myself and the world will make much of me.
Looking back, I knew there had to be something more, but didn’t have time to consider what it was. Especially in my younger years, I was at the mercy of a swiftly moving stream of influence towards the “first and most” mentality. Time wasted thinking or meaning or purpose meant falling behind and being second or, heaven forbid, last!
The world’s system seemed so burdensome: get noticed, get the girls, get wasted, get the friends, get ahead, get the grades, get the most, get happiness? Fulfillment? Purpose? These things left me more empty than when I first began. They testified to my heart a need. A need for something more. More than this world could give.
By trying to be first in life we instantly put enormous pressure on ourselves to remain first. Stay ahead. And by virtue of our selfish desires to stay first, we must rely on our own power to do so. This is unsustainable and not the way we’re made to operate. We are made to worship.
Being the most in God’s upside-down Kingdom is the exact opposite of what the world would tell us. Jesus corrects the disciples misunderstanding and turns “greatness” on its head by comparing his Kingdom to a child.
Being “first and most” doesn’t fit the shape or aim of the God-Man who came to “serve and give his life as a ransom for many.”
Being the last and least isn’t about getting trampled by the world. It’s about believing that the gospel fundamentally changes our life’s economy. What once had value now is darkened by the shadow of God’s glorious grace in Jesus. He is now the treasure hidden in a field worth selling everything for. He is now our hearts desire. He is now the Lord of our lives. So that put’s me in place as I’m unable to save myself or give myself any sort of real, lasting purpose. Realizing Christ’s obedience in His death, I clearly see His love and am catapulted into life with that same love for others. I’m humbled by it. So I begin seeing the world as God does. “The Last and Least” is about putting others first and myself last. It’s about remaining a servant, the least, so that God will be made glorious in my humility.
This my heart’s desire even though I fail miserably. He is faithful to forgive me when I do. My confidence comes not from my own ability but in the ability afforded to me by his grace. Jesus help us to be the last and least, your servants!