“He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” Mark 9:35
The Daytona 500 was kicking off the NASCAR season and I had looked forward to watching it all week long. I hadn’t watched a NASCAR race in years, and this one sure didn’t disappoint. As the field had been narrowed down to just a handful of cars due to so many crashes, Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag for his second Daytona 500 Championship. And, multi-car team owner, Joe Gibbs, celebrated with first and second place. Through the years, NASCAR has evolved into such a high-tech sport and team owners, crew chiefs and drivers do everything possible, within the rules, to be competitive, even to the tune of spending millions of dollars a year just for the chance to come in first.
What if, in the race of life, you and I had a Divine guarantee to come out in first place every single day? Could that even be possible? Well, according to Mark 9:35 it actually is, but it doesn’t happen the way most people would think. It doesn’t happen through scraping our way to the top; stepping on every person in our way as we climb up the ladder; or even by cheating, manipulation, or good ole hard word and effort. No, none of those strategies of the world work.
What does work is when we do something that seems the complete opposite of what the world, or human nature, would tell us. The guarantee of first actually only comes when we place ourselves last. Jesus said when we place ourselves last and put Him and others in front of us, that He, through His mighty power, will make sure we come out first.
For us as believers, that means we don’t have to jockey for position or favor, manipulate others to get what we want, or get even when we’ve been wronged. All we have to do is put His Kingdom, God’s way of doing and being, first, and as we do, we are guaranteed to live in victory lane.