Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last. Matthew 20:16
This is a passage that we hear often in the Christian faith but not in our society. From the time we enter school we are taught to get ahead, and to compete with one another. Being the first is best. Why would we want to be at the back of the line? Being in last place is disheartening. You do not become successful or popular if you put yourself last. And yet this is something that as part of our faith we are called to do. Lift others up so that they might succeed. Give what we have so that others might live. Being an active member of the body of Christ by placing ourselves behind others.
What are we doing to place ourselves last?
We may also feel disheartened when others are graced with something that we wanted or feel we worked harder for. We may feel cheated or abandoned like God has looked over us. Every time I feel this way, I look to what Jesus says to us in this passage:
"Are you jealous of my generosity?"Matthew 20:15
Even as Jesus points out this question it seems foolish that we would even think that. Why should we be jealous of someone’s good fortune? When one of us is lifted up, is not the whole Body of Christ lifted also? We should rejoice in others joys just as we rejoice in our own. God will give us what we need and are due. He will give others the same.
As Christians we are called to place ourselves in last place and to lift up our brothers and sisters who have fallen behind. We are to be servants of all. This mission cannot be carried out if we walk single file, not caring about the people behind. It can only be carried out if we walk beside each other, helping each other along the way. Part of putting ourselves last is asking God for help to truly open our eyes to those around us.
Open our eyes Lord. Help us to love, live and serve as you did.
Kim Garcia is on the staff of Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center, Houston, Texas.