The Last Shall Be First
The Last Shall be First
A basket of candy
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." Mark 9:35 (NIV)
Kids, today I brought you all a great treat! (Show the children your basket of candy.) I want you all to line up down the center aisle, and I will pass out a piece of candy to each of you!
Now, everyone is going to choose what kind of candy they would like. But wait a minute! Didn't Jesus say that in his kingdom, the first would be last and the last first??? Well, instead of starting at the front of the line, I think I will go to the end of the line and start there. (Starting at the end of the line, pass out candy to each of the children. When you have finished, ask the children to return to the place where you will finish the lesson.)
Some of you were very surprised when I went to the end of the line and started passing out the candy, weren't you? I wanted you to get a bit of an idea of what Jesus might have meant when he said, "The first will be last and the last first."
Jesus taught us that in his kingdom, he doesn't want his followers (that's us) to be pushing to be first in line. He doesn't want us to think that what we want is more important than what other people want. He wants us to think first about other people's needs and put ourselves back a little. That might mean saying to someone, "You go first, I will go after you," or "I want to make sure all the children will get a piece of candy, so I will wait for my piece until every one else gets one."
Jesus wants us to be like him. He wants us to be kind and think about what is good for the other kids around us, not just what is good for us. Maybe that means getting at the end of the line behind all the other kids when something good is being passed out, or when people are being chosen to do something. God wants us to remember that other kid's needs and wants are just as important, or perhaps more important, than our own.
Jesus also wants us to be servants to other people. You know what a servant is, don't you? You know, like a waiter in a restaurant. The waiter doesn't sit down and eat when he is hungry and give himself food and take care of his own meal. The waiter makes sure everyone in the restaurant is taken care of and fed. A servant is a person who takes care of the needs of others first. Their own needs wait until everyone else has been served. Jesus wants us to be like that. He wants us to be humble, to be a servant, to put others before ourselves.
Let's say a prayer,
Dear Jesus: Help us to remember to be like you, to be a servant for others. Help us to think of other people before ourselves, to let others go first. Help us to remember to say, "You first!" instead of "Me first!" Amen