“You go first.” “No, YOU go first.” Sound familiar from when you were a kid? Maybe it was going into that mean neighbor’s yard to retrieve the ball. Or asking a girl to dance at the middle school soiree. If you grew up in the north like me, it was who would go first down the death-defying sledding run down a new hill. Of late I’ve read that one source of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is not being one of the first to get this new shot. While we might like to try new things or go new places, having someone else go first gives us a level of comfort we sometimes find necessary.
I’ve been thinking about who goes first in the context of our theme for this school year “No Fear” based on Isaiah 12:2: “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” In my role as a school leader, I’m often asked to go first: “What do you think?” “What’s the answer?” “What should we do next?” As a leader I do embrace that people look to me to go first when faced with these kinds of questions or situations. But sometimes I wonder to myself, who am I to have the answer or make the decision or speak first? Just because I’m Superintendent doesn’t make me smarter or wiser than anyone else (yes, I see many of you nodding your heads 🙂 That’s where Deuteronomy 31:8 is a great comfort: “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” My confidence and security come from knowing that God went first. He loved me first and He sent his Son Jesus to save me. He went first, and the most important work is already done. That gives me the freedom to lead, try new things, and go first when it’s important. Well, maybe YOU can go first into that school bathroom though. That smell is not right 🙂