“I got to be the leader today, Nana. I was first in line.”
That was the highlight of two of our grandson’s week in school. They were so excited about being the leader and being the first in line in kindergarten. They told me this on the phone after I asked them, “How was school today?”
Now there is nothing wrong with being first. Someone has to be first. I found out soon after we started dating that Phil had a very different idea about being first in line – or being in front of ANYTHING.
I always like to sit in front. This is probably because I always sat near the front in school. My last name started with “B” – Barker – so when we were seated alphabetically, I was near the front. I was also placed near the front, sometimes SMACK up against the teacher’s desk because – can you believe it? – I TALKED TOO MUCH.
I know some of you are thinking – “she hasn’t changed in 53 years”. Others are thinking – “no wonder….”
Phil on the other hand had a last name that started with “W” – Woody – so he sat near the back. He liked sitting near the back and NEVER got in trouble for talking.
“Phillip is such a pleasure to have in class. He is a model student.” his report cards always said.
So, we soon realized that we couldn’t sit together. I wanted to sit in the front – he wanted to sit in the back.
(Don’t worry – we have worked it out and we do sit together.)
Our culture celebrates being first. First place, first in line, first prize, first team all-stars, first edition, etc.
If someone cuts in front of us while driving and beats us to a light or an intersection, we fume about it and may even lay on the horn.
Recently Phil and I were driving somewhere and were running a tad late. I knew we would get there on time if we hurried. We were making good time until Phil slowed down and let someone pull out in front of us! Then, when a car next to us signaled that they wanted to move into our lane, he waved them in front of us!
I was irritated by each car that was ahead of us, seeing them as a obsticle to my progress. Truth be told, I was also irritated with Phil.
Phil saw these opportunities as a chance to be kind and thoughtful.
I started noticing his pattern while driving and I realized that he consistently lets people ahead of himself in line, lets others go first, and is not pushy nor aggressive. He just quietly waits his turn.
Jesus taught his disciples about being first
Mark 9:33-35 (NLT)
33 After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” 34 But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. 35 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.”
What a great example to his disciples and to us.
Are we being that kind of example to our children and grandchildren? Do we let others go first? Do we make space for others in line or do we fuss and honk if others crowd in?
I need to be like Jesus and let others go first with the heart of a servant. Don’t you feel blessed when someone lets you pull into a line of cars?
Pass that kindness on to others.