Ezra wept, prostrate in front of The Temple of God. As he prayed and confessed, a huge number of the men, women, and children of Israel gathered around him. All the people were now weeping as if their hearts would break. Ezra 10:1 (MSG)
“Who wants to go first?”
I remember the feeling when a teacher or leader would ask that back when I was a child. It’s not so different today in corporate meetings. No one likes to be the first. There’s fear of humiliation. There’s fear of being alone. There’s fear of embarrassing yourself. We live with such a herd mentality, wanting to appear “normal” like everybody else. We call it “peer pressure” and talk a lot about it when we’re young. My experience is that it doesn’t really change with time. There’s just as much conformity as adults.
Sometimes it takes just one person stepping out to make a difference. Ezra’s public act of repentence and contrition started the avalanche, but it took Ezra’s courage to act in front of his family, friends and peers.
Today, I’m thinking about my own conformity. I’m asking in what ways I may be fearfully ignoring God’s question: “Who will go first?”