First and Last

Terry Walton



I Was Thinking…

Let me begin the New Year with a confession.  I have always wanted to be ‘first’.  I can remember as a child wanting to be first in line for lunch at school.  I wanted to be the first to raise my hand in answering the teacher’s question.  As a teen I wanted to be first to turn in my test paper.  In baseball I liked it when I was the ‘lead off’ batter in the lineup.  As a college student I wanted to be first to complete a project.  On our first date I wanted to make sure I shared a first kiss with Sharon (the rest is history!).

I am ‘list’ person.  I like to check things off the list and get them off my brain so I can move on to other things on the list.  I have lived by the motto “Never put off for tomorrow what you can accomplish today”.  I’m guessing this comes from being the first child in a family of four siblings.  Being first and taking the lead has always been my nature (sometimes to a fault).

I still have a lot of spiritual maturing ahead of me.  But as I have journeyed along my faith adventure, I am discovering that insisting on being first can often make me last.  I have learned in a painful way that being first means that someone else has to be second and third and eventually last.  I often hear the words of Jesus ringing in my soul “The last shall be first and the first shall be last”.  I’m learning to step aside and let others be first…but this first-born child finds it hard on many occasions.

This leads me to a prayer for 2018 that I’d like to share: 

“Dear Lord, forgive me when I have put myself ahead of others.  You have put yourself first only in giving your all so that we might live in abundance.  I pray for a world that puts others first.  I pray for the convicting power of your Holy Spirit to stir us into an uncomfortable state with our self-centeredness, greed and cruelty.  I ask for a deep awareness in my soul every day in 2018 of ways that I might help others to be lifted up rather than lift up myself.  Create in me…mold in me…encourage me to be a ‘server’ of people rather than a ‘taker’ from people.  Assist me to love in tangible ways that are relevant and life-giving to those whose path I cross.  Help me to allow you to live through me in every daily opportunity.  Help me to be willing to be last so that others can be the first in line to know of your love and acceptance of them.  Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.  I offer this prayer in the powerful name of Jesus…Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  Amen.

What is your prayer for 2018?
Always Thinking…

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