Following the Leader

Mar 11

“I’m the line leader!” I hear this chirped every Wednesday when I go to volunteer at my son’s school.  Usually, I will stay and eat lunch with him on those days.  When the last morsels are eaten and trays dumped, the race is on!  Each student does his/her best fast trot to the cafeteria door to be first.  The first in line.  The quickest one will turn with satisfaction to gaze flauntingly at the unlucky ones to stand behind him or her.  That is until the line leader appears.  
The line leader didn’t rush.  He knew his sacred spot would be there whenever he appeared.  He confidently saunters down the line throwing a smile and a wave, until he reaches the front.  His head turns to gaze at the runner who now stands at the lead, and I know what he will say before he says it.  I can mouth the words as he utters them.  “I’m the line leader.”  And with those four words, he throws down the issue to challenge him.  And no one does, because he is what he says he is – the line leader.  
Why, oh, why is that such a cherished job?  Don’t all of the students arrive at the same destination no matter their place in line?  Perhaps, the first student gets a prize when they return to the classroom.  Maybe the first one can choose the writing topic for the day.  And yet, I know from being a teacher, it is not true.  The only special privilege that comes with leading the line is being first.  No prizes, no treasures, no blessings await the line leader.  
But, wait!  The line leader is a crucial job.  In reading the Old Testament, I’ve realized that being the line leader is monumental to God, too. Over and over, we see Him relaying to the Israelites and anyone else who will listen – PUT ME FIRST!  It’s the first and greatest commandment.  Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.  He wants to be first – first in our lives.  It is important not to be jealous and murder and to remember the Sabbath, but above all of that – He wants to be first.  
Unfortunately, this is also the command we break the most!  When we choose other things or people before God, we might as well tell Him that He is going to be the caboose.  We’ve given a cute name to the back of the line so children will think it is special to be there.  But the cute name doesn’t really change its location – at the back.  
Check a couple of blogs before having a quiet time?  Back of the line, Lord!  I love these new shoes.  Let me buy them even though I haven’t written my tithe check, yet.  Move on back, Father.  I have a new opportunity to do something great.  Let me call and get the collective opinion of seventeen of my closest friends before I go to the Lord to ask.  Christ is the caboose.
Is it hurting you to read this as much as it’s hurting me to write it?
Friends, Jesus is knocking on my brain with a sledge hammer.  PUT ME FIRST!  tap tap tap PUT ME FIRST! tap tap tap  I think I’m starting to catch on.  He wants to be the line leader, and He wants me to follow Him.  God wants to be your forever line leader.  Can you give up the position of honor to One who should be honored?
Father, I know you want to be the line leader in my life.  Help me to remember that you always come first.  No matter what.  No exceptions.  I love you so much, Lord.  I want you to be my everything.  Please make it obvious in my life that you are leading, and I am following, not the other way around.  Use me today, Lord to point others to you.  Amen.

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