Facile Princeps

Don't worry about pronouncing it. Both 'c's are either hard or soft depending on which side of the pond you're from. What it means, however, is far more important given the context in which Jesus taught about the concept.

"So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called but few chosen." (Matthew 20:16)

It means "easily first" and as Jesus says in the above verse there will end up being people who–presumably because of "status" and pride–think they have a certain exemplary standing in line with God only to find that they had their priorities wrong.

When Jesus washed the disciples' feet in John 13, Peter was flabbergasted that the Lord of Creation would stoop to that level. When you think about it, they must've had some pretty filthy feet. Walking around in sandals through the dust and grime of pre-industrial era civilization (no paved roads; whether the Romans had gotten around to paving that locale is neither here, nor there). So Jesus tells them to take his example and do as he did. Peter, ever the opportunist, asked Jesus to wash "not my feet only, but also my hands and head" (13:9).

Our reputation is a hard thing to pin down, that is if we're searching without for it's validation. I'll explain: I can aspire to become the "absolute superlative epitome" of myself while I live out the number of days allotted to me by God. Moses prayed, "teach us to number our days" (Psalm 90:12). But! I will never be greater than who God originally envisioned me to be when He first thought of me (when was that?). So who am I racing? Jockeying for position among my peers is a waste of time. Paul said it was "not wise" (2 Corinthians 10:12). So where do we go from here? Jesus said "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant." (Matthew 23:11). And if we always strive to be humble in our outlook and worldview and reputation, then we'll be pleasing to God. "Though the Lord be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly" (Psalm 138:6; That whole psalm is amazing, check it out if you have a minute. It's not long). Beautiful. Imagine God, stooping down from Heaven to lift the chin and look into the eyes of those who've been stepped on and shunned by the world. And to wash their feet.

As my dad says, "In God's Kingdom, the way up is the way down".

Paul said to "condescend to men of low estate" (Romans 12:16). In the King James the connotation for "condescend" is a lot different than our modern definition. Far from being arrogant and…condescending, it means to humble oneself and acknowledge those who are the wallflowers, the catatonically shy, the ones who aren't "cool". The bullied. The homeless. Make time for these people. Look them in the eye and give them something to keep striving. Be like God. If you have it and you feel led by the Holy Spirit, give it. Encouragement is free yet priceless. And as you give, God will make sure to keep you well stocked. Overflowing, even. Jesus said as much (see Luke 6:38).

Facile Princeps. Those who remain humble are "easily first" with God. Those who think they're "easily first" are in for a rude awakening. Jesus, who was first became last, so we who were last could be first.

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