Is First always first?

I pastor the First United Methodist Church of Euless.  In United Methodist circles, this could be shortened to “First Euless.”

In Euless, though, “First Euless” is short for the First Baptist Church of Euless.

Nothing against the Baptist church in general or that one in particular, but I don’t want to be confused with them, or inadvertently steer people their way (when intending to steer them toward my own congregation).

This shortening is probably mostly a branding thing – shortened terms used to identify a specific place or thing.  I get that.  The additional benefit is the implicit positive connotations of the word “first.”  It means – or suggests, perhaps – a prominence and superiority of quality.

Who, after all, doesn’t want to be first?  I hate waiting in line, especially a long line.  I’d like to be first.

So, now, enter Jesus.  Trouble-making clever Jesus. In Matthew 20, Jesus responds to this desire to be first, best, on top, with the famous “So those who are last will be first. And those who are first will be last.” (CEB)

So now I am thinking about suggesting we change the name of our church to “Last United Methodist Church of Euless.”

What do you think?

8 thoughts on “Is First always first?

    • Mike, I’m glad you said that! Right after I thought about the name change, I wondered, “is that just trying to out-smart God?” Is naming oneself “last” in order to be first really buying into the ‘system’ of things that Jesus is actually talking about overturning?

  1. Well, we certainly can’t out-smart God, but maybe we can drive the point home to ourselves? At any rate, it would make people wonder…

  2. WE, 1st Euless have been here for over 135 years, so I think we ARE Fisrt church of Euless.
    God knows WHO we are and that really is all that matters.
    Our mission is to make Disciples for Christ, and name is not important.

    • You have a point, Lee, but my point wasn’t about arguing about who IS first. It was, rather, that, in seeking to follow Jesus, seeking to be first is something we ought to be working on giving up.

  3. I am taught to be kind to someone everyday and not get found out. Is it a practice for others ? Definitely, but the reward is that it changes me. Bit by bit. Inch by inch as Lombardi said “Life’s a cinch “. “by the yard, Life is Hard”
    By the practice of allowing others, not just women and children. It has helped me to put God First. Afterall that’s what Jesus wants of His Followers. So. What’s in a name ? God puts people right where He wants them.
    When the student is ready.
    The teacher appears !

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