Sunday Stride – Are you ok not being first?


The last shall be first.

I think people must get a kick out of watching me drop off or pick up my boys each day at school. There is ALWAYS some big scene happening to observe, after all.

The very first day I picked my boys up from aftercare this year, one of my twins ran out to greet me followed quickly by my oldest son. Then, my other twin rounded the corner looking so despondent. He threw his bag on the floor and sat down with an audible “No fair!” Then he kicked his bag a few times for good measure and tossed his metal water bottle on the ground. I guess the loud clank of it hitting the ground was a satisfying exclamation point on the sentence he was making for all to see. 

I didn’t even have to ask him what the tantrum was over – I knew. He had tried to be first out to me and his brothers had beat him. Guess he didn’t hear the one where Jesus goes “The last shall be first.” 

Or he did and missed the message.

To him, at five, being first is so very important. He wants to be the first to master a skill, the first to tell mommy about his day, the first to tell on one of his brothers. And when it doesn’t happen, he grumbles.

I can tell him as much as I want that it’s not about being first, but how often do I, as an adult, throw an internal tantrum about the same kinds of things?

I did more work then they did, why do they get credit?

I earned my money, why should I have to share?

I have a busy schedule, why should I be forced to accommodate you?

I have dreams, why should I pause to help you make yours a reality?

The essence of today’s Gospel, however, is to remind us that there is enough. God has enough love and grace and blessings to go around. There are no limits on how many dreams can be fulfilled, and in fact, so many more are possible when we stop trying to be… first.

So my prayer for us today is that we are given the grace to stop trying to be the best, the only, the first. May we reach for our dreams and become the person God created us to be while helping others do the same.

After all, there is enough.

And maybe instead of a first and a last, we can cross the finish line together.

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