Nobody sets out to finish second. Do you know of anyone who set out to be a runner up for an Academy Award or Heisman trophy? Does any athlete set out to win a silver medal or second place ribbon? Are second place finishers really just the “first losers?”
Second place is not celebrated in our society, or any culture for that matter. Perhaps that is why Jesus’ statement was and is such a universal head-scratcher,
Many who are first will be last, and the last first (Matt 19:30; Mark 10:31).
“Second Baptist Church” is the name of the church I have pastored for the last thirteen years. Honestly, it took me a while to get used to that name, much less like it – but I do now. There is nothing original about being “First.” Every city and town in America has a “First Baptist…First Methodist, Assembly of God, Nazarene, Presbyterian, etc.” Historians can probably explain why our ancestors enjoyed mixing names and numbers in churches and banks. I wonder if “First” has not been overused and overrated. Perhaps “second” really is better? On Sesame Street, they might say, “This blog is sponsored by the number 2.”
Some entrepreneurial Jesus-followers in the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex started a creative testimony-sharing ministry called “I AM SECOND.” Their website, www.iamsecond.com, explains who they are:
I am Second is a movement meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others. Actors. Athletes. Musicians. Business leaders. Drug addicts. Your next-door neighbor. People like you. The authentic stories on iamsecond.com provide insight into dealing with typical struggles of everyday living. Find the hope, peace, and fulfillment they found. Be Second. (spoiler-> Jesus is first)
What are some tangible ways we can be second in a “me first” society?
PUT JESUS FIRST EVERY MORNING
The Apostle Paul also declared, I die every day! (1 Cor 15:31). Paul put Jesus “first” and himself “second” every day, and so can you and I. John the Baptist modeled this as more of a lifestyle when he said, He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).
PUT YOUR FAMILY FIRST EVERY DAY
Make sure that your needs come second to the needs of your spouse and children. If you are not sure how you are doing, your calendar and checkbook is a fair scorecard.
But if anyone does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Tim 5:8).
We all know that our family needs more than our financial support.
PUT YOUR CHURCH MEMBERS FIRST EVERY WEEK
Pastor-peers, do we show up to serve or to be served? Jesus modeled servanthood for us, The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many (Matt 20:28). We all need to stop “going to church,” and be the church. People who come to church to get fed are “infants.”
We have a great deal to say about this, and it’s difficult to explain, since you have become too lazy to understand. Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food (Heb 5:11-12).
So, are second place finishers really just the “first losers?”
Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:3-5).
When I put Mark Dance first, I am a less like Jesus than any other time. Whenever I do put my Lord, my family and my church first, I can honestly say that I enjoy coming in second place.