Act 4: After You

Putting ourselves first comes incredibly easy to our culture – just think about a group of strangers jostling to get on a train. Today, we’re taking a firm 180 on that me-first tendency, and finding a couple of practical ways to put others first. Expect surprising results.

Choose how you’ll complete today’s act:
Green:
Whether you live in a bustling city or somewhere more low-key, take the time to say ‘Good morning!’ to people you meet today, letting them go first through the door, or in the queue.

Amber:
At home or work, do someone’s chores before they do. Put them first by getting there first.

Red:
Are you in a situation where your desires clash with someone else’s? Prioritise their wishes above your wishes, even (especially!) if they aren’t in line with yours. Budge on the stubbornness. Make the sacrifice.

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“Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.”
(Romans 12:10 NIV)
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Your thought for today:

My six-year-old sister summed up our trip… “I’d rather be at school!”.

I was 11. On a family trip to see puffins on the island Skokholm, we arrived to find the weather too bad to make the crossing. Instead, we visited neighbouring island Skomer.

This rapidly proved a bad decision.

The rain was heavy and relentless; looking for birds was comically futile. Instead we spent half the afternoon sheltering in a bird hide. I don’t recall seeing any puffins…

Having exhausted any wavering enthusiasm for birdwatching (admittedly mine was never super high) and desperate to get home, we joined the queue of sodden walkers to wait for the ferry back. Stood on the exposed slope down to the jetty, it’s hard to describe the sheer volume of rain. No waterproof would have been sufficient. There wasn’t even sugary relief! It was so wet that the colours had run in the tube of Smarties that was in the depths of Dad’s rucksack.

Hooray! The boat came back. But aah – problem. The queue in front of us looked just longer than the number of passengers allowed. Two short for our family of five. Nightmare. That meant another forty five minutes shivering in the rain, while the little ferry made a round trip.

Then something surprising happened: seeing my parents’ attempts to rally their cold daughters, the couple immediately in front of us turned around, and waved us through, giving up their guaranteed seats for a long, cold wait. We’d never met them before and they didn’t know anything about us but they showed our family love in its simplest form: they put us first.

Without much debate, exceedingly thankful, we hopped on board.

Later, we dried off in the car, chatting about that couple. As a family we’ve revisited that rainy weekend many a time and admired the pair who toughed it out. The value of them going second was far more than a quicker journey home: it was a life lesson in sacrificial generosity that stayed with those three shivering girls. In a ‘me first’ world, there is an alternative – to put others first. Jesus modelled it and invites us to do likewise.



Written by Rosie Wright
Rosie is an award-winning broadcaster and journalist. She co-presents the weekday breakfast show on Premier Christian Radio 7–10am and can be found reviewing the papers on BBC Radio London. She’s a lifelong Londoner, the eldest of four girls, a gospel singer and lipstick lover!


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