I have a small sign that says “There is no telling where you can go or what you can accomplish if you don’t mind who gets the credit.” Many people, especially in the business world, would scoff at that. “How can you get ahead, get promoted, get a raise, if you are not given credit for what you do??”
And it’s a fair point. We work and work and keep striving for that one job, that one account, that one project that will put us at the top of the list when it comes to a promotion or that year-end bonus.
So do we deserve what we get? Or do we deserve what we give?
The Messiah was traveling through Galilee with His disciples, and they were going the “long way” because He was teaching the disciples and He didn’t want anyone to know exactly where they were. By this time in His ministry it didn’t take long for a crowd to gather around Him.
Soon they came to the town of Capernaum, and went into a house there. Apparently during the last bit of the journey the Master had heard his disciples quietly arguing about something.
So when they all came into the house, He asked them “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they all kept quiet, because they were a little embarrassed, maybe even a bit ashamed, because they had been arguing about who among them was the greatest.
Those guys were “regular” guys just like other people. Fishermen, tax collectors, one was even a doctor, but they still had desires and dreams like other people, even though they devoted themselves to the Master and His calling. They were still human.
The Master – Jesus – knew what they had been talking about, but instead of rebuking them for their seemingly selfish ambitions, He taught them.
“Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and servant of all.” (Mark 10:35)
In order to be first, we must be willing to be last, and be a servant to those we think should serve us.
I’ve had supervisors say to me “I won’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.” Then, in time, they prove it because one day they’re in the ditches with you, shoulder to shoulder, helping you, handing you tools you need, being a servant. Then after the job is finished, they help pick up and clean up and they make sure to thank you for your hard work.
Just regular people who have learned how to give in a way that helps and encourages others.
Their willingness to be “last” is why they are “first.”