First Is The Worst, Last Is The Best

by Guest blogger on February 11, 2011 · 9 comments

My sweet friend, Jenny, has so kindly offered to lead us through the book of Mark during the month of February (you are invited to join her by reading through Mark at your own pace). I am SO thankful! She is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and I know you will all enjoy getting to know her! She describes herself as a Yankee girl, born and raised just outside of Chicago, living in Tennessee (where I had the pleasure of spending several days with her last week).

She is a blessed wife and mother of three young children, and the owner of Southern Institute of Domestic Arts and Crafts where she blogs about family, faith, sewing, and healthy living.

I know you’re going to LOVE getting to know her and reading what she’s learning from the book of Mark!


“First Is the Worst, Last Is the Best!”

Do you remember saying this as a child? It was a phrase most used when I was about to lose at something… and I could never quite make myself believe it.

Seriously, how naive do you have to be to believe that last place was best?

Do you think you could convince this guy…


How naive do we have to be?  

We have to be like little children. Yep, that’s right, because in the Kingdom of God, first is the worst and last is the best.

“Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him saying, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask.'” (Mark 10:35)
Hold the phone.  Can you believe the nerve of these guys?

“And He said to them, ‘What do you want me to do for you?'” (vs. 36)

He was humoring them.

What they asked for were the the two most important seats in the house, to sit on His right hand and His left hand in the Kingdom of God.  To be first.

When the Sons of Thunder (Mark 3:17) asked this of Jesus, they were most likely trying to secure their own power and authority in the Kingdom of God, but they would suffer greatly.  Jesus’ answer was simple…

“You do not know what you ask.” (vs. 38) To drink the cup that He drinks and be baptized with the baptism that He is baptized with would mean to partake in His suffering and death.  To be first, they would have to suffer and be treated as if they were the least.

“…whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.  And whoever desires to be first shall be slave of all.” (vs. 43-44)

It’s hard for most of us to be servants. We are humans. We are humans that live in a society that tells us that we need to take care of ourselves, make sure our needs are being met. Exactly what James and John were doing. I am as guilty of this selfishness as they were.

I have to pray consistently that God give me a servant’s heart towards my family and others. I get tired, I get frustrated, and I get overwhelmed. When I feel like this, what I really want to do is make myself a cup of tea, lock myself in my bedroom, and curl up with a good book.

Instead there is laundry to do, dinner to prepare, dishes to wash, kids to put to bed, toys to pick up, crumbs to be swept (and blog posts to write). First is the worst, last is the best. Ann Voskamp calls it the “upside-down kingdom”. I had never thought of it that way.

Jesus led the way for us.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (vs.45)

We are called to put the needs of others before our own.  We are called to follow the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We are called to die to ourselves and to our selfish desires.

First is the worst, last is the best.



LOVE those last lines! “We are called to put the needs of others before our own.  We are called to follow the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We are called to die to ourselves and to our selfish desires.” So true and so easy to forget! Thanks for the GREAT reminder!

Jenny @ The Southern Institute

It is definitely a calling, and the thing that I have to remember is that when God calls us to do something, He equips us to do it when we step up to the plate.


I am so enjoying this woman’s posts – I want to meet her!!

Jenny @ The Southern Institute

You’re so sweet! We don’t live close to each other, do we?

JDaniel4's Mom

I totally forget this sometimes. I need to remember what I am really living for.

Jenny @ The Southern Institute

It’s easy to forget, isn’t it! Thanks for coming over and reading!


So true. It is soo easy to get swept up in feeling like we deserve a break when we have been doing lots of work around the house, etc., but I love what you said about asking for a servant’s heart…to see the work we do as a blessing to others, and to do it with a joyful heart. It is a discipline that I need to practice more often!


This post speaks straight to my heart in this “busy” season of life for us… It is a daily, conscious effort to step out of my “zone” and focus on those around me! Thanks for the great reminder!!


Great post, Michelle. A reminder that I needed. (Please bear with me as I try to catch up!)

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