How to Be First by Serving Others

SYLVIA MCCRORY      March 2021

Everyone wants to be first, be at the top, and win the glory. But no one seems to understand how to get there. 


We are constantly training, and training for one event or another. If it’s running; we are out exercising, eating right and practicing. If it’s academic; we are studying, getting plenty of sleep, and trying to absorb as much information as possible. 


No matter what the race is, or what the competition is, we all want to win. We certainly wouldn’t put in all the effort if we were planning to come in last. 


In the world we live in and the culture we are a part of, we are driven, especially if we want to succeed. 


So, what is this easy answer? In fact, the answer is so important, it is repeated in three of the four gospels. Before I go on, let me say, the answer is easy, but the work is the hardest anyone will ever do.


Matthew 20:16   So the last will be first, and the first last.  (CSB)


Mark 10:43-45  On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.    (CSB)


Luke 13:30 Note this: Some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last.               (CSB)

The hard part is not that we should be trying to lose, but we should be serving others just as Jesus did. While he was here on earth, he taught us many lessons on how to live, but we have gotten lost in the world and ignored them. We are hurting ourselves and our families when we choose to walk away from the teachings of the Bible. 


In the book of John, Jesus gives us an example of serving when he washes the feet of the disciples.


John 13:4-5   So he got up from supper, laid aside his outer clothing, took a towel, and tied it around himself. Next, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples feet and to dry them with the towel  tied around him.            (CSB)


John 13:14-17    So, if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you.   Truly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him.  If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.                (CSB)

What does all of this have to do with parenting?


Instead of pushing our children to the front and trying to grab all we can, we need to stop and take a look at the example Jesus has given us.

  • Teach our children to serve others. 


Work at homeless shelters, food banks, help the elderly.  It’s not hard to find ways to serve others.  There are many in need today.

  • Teach our children to put the needs of others before their own wants and needs.


Once we learn to put others before ourselves, we see the world in a whole new light. We see others suffering, and realize God has blessed us with so much more than we realize. 


For children, it is one way to teach empathy. Instead of being selfish, and worrying about what object they will receive next, they begin to understand the needs of others.

  • Teach our children to be “givers” and not “takers”. 

Life is full of “takers”. And if you examine their lives, you will undoubtedly see people are never satisfied.  The quote below, by Charles Spurgeon says it best.


You say, “If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.” You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.          Charles Spurgeon


Rewards will abound


In our human nature, we want what is tangible, and what we can put on display as our reward. This is the wrong way to think, and the wrong way to teach our children. The best rewards are not tangible, where they could be taken away. The best rewards are in our hearts and in Heaven, the final home for those trusting in Jesus.


Earthly rewards


When children grow up learning to live as givers, they get an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. They will feel it in their hearts. They will understand, they are important, they matter, and others NEED them. The more they do for others, the more they will want to do for others.  Giving is not just helping those in need, it is rewarding those who help!!! NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF GIVING!!!

Heavenly rewards


When Jesus was talking to his disciples about who would be first in Heaven, he was explaining how important it was to follow his example. The purpose for Christians is to follow his example, to teach others, and to serve others.  Our purpose is to serve those in need. Sometimes we may not be able to see their need physically, but it could be an emotional need. If we pray for God to guide us, he will provide and equip us to help others.

Let’s all go out and see if we can begin by changing our hearts, and become like Jesus.


In His Service,


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