A couple of years ago we had a missionary couple visit our church, the Long’s, who serve in West Africa. On Saturday, Patty and I took them to Ritter Island to kayak in the scenic Snake river Canyon with the amazing spring waters.
The Long’s have two children, a boy, who was four at the time and a girl, age seven. Mark had Anna the seven year old in his kayak and I had Simon in mine. We started to paddle and Mark and I began to have a little fun racing each other. We alternated the lead with each other, prompting the children’s natural rivalry in shouting for us to paddle harder to get the lead.
Toward the end of our excursion, Mark and Anna paddled to the lead and got to the pull out just ahead of us. Simon was upset because his sister’s kayak arrived first and her taunt of winning the race only made Simon angrier. I said to Simon, “Listen, we really won because Jesus said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” I asked Simon to quote the verse several times so that he could tell that to Anna whenever she might taunt him. He learned to say it accurately. But the taunting finally got to him and he said vehemently, “I don’t want to do it Jesus’ way!”
We all laughed, and yet our hearts were also smitten by the reality that sometimes we don’t want to do it Jesus’ way. There are times that what we want collides with God’s will and we don’t want to be last. We have to settle this issue once and for all, or we will be taunted by our spiritual enemies relentlessly. Only when we surrender to our Lord in totality will we be able to let our rivals go and be content in the promises of God.