Getting up at 4:00 in the morning on your vacation is not normal. If you asked my wife she might say something even less charitable. But we rose early that day for a special reason – to be the first to see the sunrise in America.

Cadillac Mountain is in Acadia National Park in Maine. At 1530 feet it is the highest point on the Atlantic seaboard. Combined with being one of the easternmost points in America it’s the first place to see the sunrise in this country. We drove up early that morning to be the first to see the sunrise anywhere in America that day.

But when we arrived at the top of the mountain we could barely find a parking spot. And over the next 45 minutes we would watch hundreds more people pour onto the granite summit. I was not going to be first. I would be one of hundreds that day to see the first sunrise in America. It put me in some pretty rare company but it wasn’t first.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be first – someone has to. Greatness is a worthy goal to pursue. When Jesus said, “The last will be first and the first will be last” he wasn’t criticizing the desire to be first. He was teaching us about having a servanthood attitude. Jesus doesn’t want us to act superior to others he wants us to serve others. You can be the best and still not act like you’re better than anyone else.

The reality is we all can’t be first. Only one person can. We can’t all be the best otherwise best doesn’t mean anything. What each of us can pursue is being the best we can be. Taking the talents, gifts and opportunities God places in our lives and doing all we can to be the best we can become.

The key is to pursue impact over outcome. Because impact you can control, results you cannot. You can control impact because it is about doing the best you can with your resources. Outcomes are different because there are so many things beyond our control. We can do everything right but others can mess it up.

Sometimes the results just don’t show the whole story. But the impact will. You may not be acknowledged as the best or receive the first-place prize. That doesn’t mean you never will. As long as you keep pursuing being the best you can be, you’ll be first in what matters most.


About Rick McDaniel

Rick McDaniel is a noted author, international communicator and church leader. He is the founder/senior pastor of Richmond Community Church in Richmond, Virginia. The church is known for its contemporary and innovative services and has a worldwide reach through McDaniel has earned three degrees including an advanced degree from Duke University and is the author of​ six​​ books including his latest "Turn Your Setbacks Into Comebacks." He has traveled and spoken at conferences and churches worldwide spanning six continents.

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 New Devotional from Pastor Rick McDaniel: Vida De Alto Impacto con Rick McDaniel

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