In the summer of 2013, a year before I was brought on staff as children’s pastor, I was an intern at our church, specifically with the student ministry. That summer the students went to camp at Mississippi College. I remember a lot about that trip but the one thing that stuck out to me was the theme that year, “Be Last.” Being last is not something we set our goals to achieve. It is not something we set out to do. We live in a world where we are constantly trying to be first and be ahead of the person next to us. We want the recognition, the attention, and the benefits of being first.
Fast forward seven years to April 2020. The kids are currently going through a series on humility in this quarantine. Humility is putting others first by giving up what we think we deserve. In other words, humility is choosing to be behind someone else, or to be last. What we have noticed this month is that Jesus is the clearest picture of humility that we will ever see. Jesus continuously demonstrated and taught His disciples what it meant to be humble in the world around them.
For instance, in Mark 10:35, James and John made what they thought was an innocent request, but it turned out to be a teaching moment that they would never forget. They said, “Teacher, we want you to do us a favor. When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on the right and the other on the left.” They didn’t know what they were asking. So Jesus brought the disciples together and said, “You know that the rulers of this world lord it over people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, whoever wants to be first among you must be the servant of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and give his life as a ransom for many.”
If we look at the life of Jesus, He will always lead us towards humility. Humility will lead us to serve those around us. Humility will lead us to consider the needs of others ahead of our own. Humility will lead us to take a step back so someone else can take a step forward. Humility will help us value people that we normally overlook. Humility will take us from selfish to self-less. Humility will turn a “me centered” world upside down.
In what areas of our lives do we need to take a step back? In what areas of our lives have we tried to get ahead at the expense of someone else? The kid’s memory verse for the month of April is Philippians 2:3, found right in the middle of one of my favorite passages of scripture. It says, “Do not do anything only to get ahead. Do not do it because you are proud. Instead, be humble. Value others more than yourselves.”