At Herman Baptist Church, when it’s potluck, you’d better be ready to eat. We enjoyed many meals there with some of the best cooking I’ve ever had. The ladies of the church remove lids, tin foil, and plastic wrap. They set out spoons and spatulas and get it all set up for the folks to dig in. And once grace is said, they stand back.
People are lined up, sometimes making a circle around the back of the room just trying to get some of that good food. And it’s thanks to many of these women for the majority of the dishes being served. They’ve spent hours in the kitchen cooking and baking. And they are some of the first dishes to go.
“No more chicken spaghetti!” You hear someone yell as they remove the dish to be cleaned. “The egg rolls are gone, too! And the chicken and dressing!” One by one, plates are filled, and glassware is empty.
After the last person has gone through the line, the ladies will get their plates and begin getting a few things for themselves.
In the back of the kitchen/fellowship hall, there’s a table with just a few chairs. This is where the ladies sit. Not to be away from the people, but to be close to the work. Cleanup, dish washing, and getting those lids matched up with their dishes is an important job if I’ve ever seen one.
And they are some of the very last to leave. And not once have I ever heard them complain.
These women always put the needs of others before their very own.
And sometimes, when there’s something really good, people would make a separate bowl for the ladies table just to make sure they got some.
Jesus continues His teaching about His kingdom.
“Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” (Matthew 19:27-30)
Peter begins by responding to Jesus’ statement about how hard it is for a rich man to enter Heaven because he values his possessions more than Jesus. He declares the disciples have given up everything to follow Him, so surely that means there must be something wonderful that awaits them.
Jesus replied that those that have given up much for His sake shall be rewarded, sometimes in this life, and most assuredly, in Heaven.
The statement “many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first” speaks to the very thing Jesus exemplified – servanthood.
“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
The word “minister” translates to servant. Putting the needs of others before your own. Sometimes, it means going without so that others have plenty. Sometimes it means waiting until the end to allow others to go first. Sometimes it means doing most of the work but receiving no recognition when others are in the spotlight. But Jesus reassures us that when you do this for His sake, you will be rewarded!
Today, let us be looking for ways to put others first. How can we serve one another? How can I be more like Jesus?