But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

Matthew 19:30

Have you ever seen a clown car in the circus. It zooms around honking and spinning until it comes to a stop and the door flies open revealing a parade of clowns, one after the other, after the other. Sometimes fifteen clowns can come out of one little car. I remember as a kid thinking about the poor clown who came out last. How tight must that have been for him! Now that I think about it, that clown who came out last was actually the one who went in first. Talk about the first shall be last. What a great example of that very idea. Being the one who gets to go first, the special one, the favored one, isn’t always the best thing to be. 

Tony Robbins, the self-help guru, once said he serves so that people will think he brought joy, love, opportunity, and fulfillment to millions of people. And while this might be a noble goal for those who serve for service sake or for posterity, for the believer, the goal of service isn’t to be seen or even to be loved or remembered; the goal of service is to love. 

Serving others isn’t always glamorous and it doesn’t always mean that you become the best friend of those you serve. Serving serves a far greater purpose than popularity or acceptance; these are self-serving reasons to serve. We serve others because God loves us. God first loved us, which caused us to love him, and in loving him we are compelled to love his children. We serve because we love God and that is why we can say that we don’t care if people take any notice at all. We aren’t doing it for the applause of humans but for the love of God. In the economy of God it isn’t the first in their class, the first to arrive, or the first to achieve greatness who He looks on with favor, but the last. When you serve, you are a servant of another, and while that can feel like the lowest of low, from this low position you only prove that you are a servant in the likeness of God’s own Son who came to serve not to be served. 

Questions to ponder

Are you one of the few people that actually like clowns? Either way, when you go out to eat and you get a booth, are you the first one in or the last? Why?

What are some of the self-serving reasons people serve others? 

What is a way that you can serve someone in your school, neighborhood, or work today where you’ll get no notice or acclaim?

Share your faith journey!