Leaders Live Last

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a family friend, a man named Bill. The service brought me face to face with the reality of the word LAST.

7 weeks ago Bill was vibrant, strong, and the picture of health. Unfortunately, cancer attacked and Monday was his last day.

Bill Holley

Last is a word that leaders don’t like to think about. We like to finish first, win, conquer, and prevail. However, the best leaders I know are ones who not only tolerate last, but embrace it.

There is a Bible verse that sets forth the paradox … the last shall be first. It is a reminder that those who live last, pushing others to the front, are ultimately the winners. They are the ones who will be remembered.

My friend will be remembered by me, not for all he accomplished, though his life impacted many for decades. No, I will remember the day he chose to be a babysitter.

It was my sisters wedding day, and my wife and I had a newborn … our first daughter. Bill and his wife chose to serve instead of being served that day. Rather than allowing us to leave our baby in a nursery with someone we didn’t know, they volunteered to babysit. They even drove 30 miles to my parents home to do so. After the wedding they showed up at the church with our baby, happy, fed, and just in time for pictures. Bill and his wife chose to live last that day, by putting others first, as they did most every day.

Are you living last in your own leadership?

There will be a last day of summer, last day with your kids at home, last day with your spouse, last day in your current job, last song, last dance, last story, and last laugh.

I encourage you to lean in to every moment and to steward every relational encounter as if it could be your last. And if you really want to stretch yourself as a leader, focus on living last by putting others first … even if it means becoming a babysitter.

Bill did, and so can you.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What are some specific ways a leader can live last?

Comment Below …

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7 years ago

No one likes to think about the last of something… Thanks for the thought to embrace it…

Anne Eckert

7 years ago

Thank you for this! I really needed to read your article. Things are not happening the way that they were planned for work this summer & this was a good reminder to continue to put other people before myself, even if it is inconvenient or hard. I keep on remembering Phil. 4:4-6 and remembering that following Christ is not just something in my head but it is my actions as well.
Again, thank you so much!


7 years ago

Thanks for the encouragement Anne. I pray you will experience a fresh reminder, every day, that God is working behind the scenes. Have a great week!

Clara Nnorom

7 years ago

This is very insightful.To be a leader is to lead.To lead is to live last.

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