Learning to Be Last

Matthew 20:26–28

I’LL NEVER FORGET A TRIP I took with my older son to shoot the rapids on the Rogue River in Oregon. While our group was receiving instructions from the guide, I began to study the canoes. Some were old and worn, but a few were obviously new. Being selfish, I wanted Curt and me to get the new ones, so I whispered in his ear:

“Curt, start moving over to the left.”


“Just do as I say, Son. The two canoes on the end are new. Let’s get ’em.”

He cooperated. We got the new ones. I handled it so smoothly, nobody even knew. The older ones were probably just as good, but they were old.

After canoeing, on the way back to our campsite, all fifteen of us were packed like sardines in this old van. Without warning, BOOM! A blowout. All our gear had to come out to get to the spare tire. Then that beast of a van had to be jacked up—a hot, dirty job. Guess who directed traffic instead of helping to change the tire? Yours truly. As I recall, not one car passed us on that country road during the entire episode.

Why did I do it? Because I’m selfish, plain and simple.

You see, I learned a lot about looking out for self in school; I perfected it in the Marine Corps; and I developed real finesse in seminary, while learning to be a minister. Hey, this is the profession where a guy can get away with it and hardly ever be criticized for it. Who in the world is going to point a finger at a man of the cloth? Who’s willing to touch “God’s anointed” (our favorite title) and risk an advanced case of leprosy?

Listen to Jesus, who offers a better way:

Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

MATTHEW 20:26–28

That’s more like it! Let’s follow His example.

Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved. The full devotional can be purchased at tyndale.com.

Posted in Christian Living, Fruit of the Spirit and tagged .

Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.