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What Did Jesus Say About Putting Others First?

Jesus’ actions displayed what it means to put others first, but here’s what he had to say about it.

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We all want to figure out what our purpose in life is. To get the answer to that question, we often find ourselves coming back to the same question: “What am I here for?” 

But here’s the thing – you might not actually be asking the right question. Jesus never gave us directions to discover our purpose, figure out what we’re here for, and go do that. In fact, he already knew our greatest purpose: to serve others.  

So instead of asking “What am I here for?”, the better question is “Who am I here for?”. This mindset was very important to Jesus during his life and ministry, and he had a lot to say about putting others first in the Bible. 

What did Jesus say about putting others first? 

Jesus set an incredible example of sacrificial love in the way he served and cared for others throughout his life. His ministry was punctuated by the ultimate sacrifice – dying on the cross for the sake of all mankind, bearing a punishment that wasn’t meant for him. His actions displayed what it means to put others first, but here’s what he had to say about it: 

Put others above yourself. 

“He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, ‘Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.’” Mark 9:35 

It’s better to serve than to be served. 

"Whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:44-45 

Treat others the way you want to be treated. 

“Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” Luke 6:31 

Lay down your life for others. 

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 

Give freely to others. 

“Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.” Matthew 5:42 

Serving others honors Jesus. 

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” Matthew 25:40 

Love others the way Jesus loved you. 

“For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands.” John 13:34-35 

Follow his example. 

“After washing their feet, [Jesus] put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.’” John 13:12-14 

How can I put others first? 

Feeling inspired to put Jesus’ words into practice but not sure where to start? Serving others doesn’t always look like a radical act. In fact, you can put others first in these simple ways: 

1. Donate old books, clothing, or furniture to charity.  

2. Offer to help an elderly neighbor with yardwork or errands. 

3. Drop off donuts and coffee for teachers at your local school district. 

4. Let someone in front of you in line or at an intersection. 

5. Sweep the sidewalk on your block. 

Check out Impact PA 

On May 18, spend at least one hour participating in a serve project in your area as part of Impact PA – an effort to unleash love and generosity on communities all over the state of Pennsylvania. Check out our current serve projects or start your own


You can inspire your whole family to serve an put others first with these 10 easy serve opportunities for kids of all ages


LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you!

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