“They had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus ... said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:34-35 NIV
These verses remind me of an incident I observed years ago in a small Maryland farming community where we lived. At 2:45 pm every Friday, the owner of the grain mill would place a small table on the loading dock, and then at 3:00 would reappear to pay his hired help their week’s wages in cash. Some of his helpers began lining up as soon as the table appeared, standing there for 15 minutes. Those at the end of the line arrived at 3:00 pm, and some came even later.
On the day I was watching from inside the mill, the owner came out of his office, but instead of sitting down to pay his help as usual he moved the table to the other end of the line and announced, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last.” Over much grumbling from the new end of the line, he proceeded to pay his workers.
As he finished, the last one in line, who had originally been first, asked why the owner had done what he did. The owner responded that those who lined up before quitting time were thinking only of themselves, and did not deserve to be first. But those who worked until the end of the work day were rewarded for their diligent service. When asked if he was going to be moving the table every week, he said he would do what he had to do to improve the attitude of each of his employees. He then asked the questioner to carry the table inside saying, “The very last shall be servant of all.”
Do we want to serve our Lord? Then self should be the last thing on our minds, and serving Him should be first and foremost. Otherwise, we too may have to learn the lesson of faithful service the hard way.
By Larry Ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org