Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

Last of All

The thu-dump, thu-dump, thu-dump in her chest pounded faster and faster. She glanced down at her feet before quickly realizing that it would be worse to wear the rejection so visibly. Defiantly, she drew her face upward, trying to lock eyes with someone, anyone, hoping to gain the extra ounce of courage it would take to stand there and be picked last again.

Last…nobody wants that! First is the place to be! We don’t like the feeling of the world settling for us. We all want to be chosen. In fact, we’d rather choose to bow out than allow ourselves to be chosen last. We want the world to bet on us, to be excited about us. We like it when the world sees our value and appreciates our awesomeness.

But this is not of God. When God chooses, He expects sacrifice and obedience. For most of His chosen, there are no celebratory parades. There are no fancy accolades of golden statues. Nope. There’s suffering. There’s grunt work. There’s a lack of appreciation. And boy, there’s a whole lot of it, too, right?

Yet the gift of being chosen by God lies in the permanence of His reward. All the things we look for from a dying world God will pour out on us in the everlasting. Unlike the Academy Awards that gather dust on a shelf or the confetti that gets trampled underfoot only to be swept away and dumped unceremoniously onto trash heaps, God’s reward will last forever. It is always pristine.

Friend, are you willing to wait? When we look for the world to see our genius, our intentions, or even our good, we pridefully give in to the flesh. When we look for the pleasure of God, we know that He must come first, our neighbor comes next, and we come last.

As we recognize our discontentment with being last in the world, we must pray for a new heart. When we are of Christ, we expect and treasure being last because this emulates our Savior, our Teacher. When we are of Christ, we realize that the only opinion of us that matters is that of God. We learn not to treasure the comforts of the flesh because they are impermanent. We learn to distance ourselves from what we want in favor of aligning to what God wants. We know that to be alive in Christ means that we are dead to the world. We concern ourselves with what God likes. And that sets us apart.

To the world, such a perspective sounds silly and backwards, but for those of us who know that Jesus is, in fact, coming back again, we know that upon His return, the truth will be proven sound and clear. And in that day, my own vindication and validation will not matter, and no one else’s will either. Only God’s.

Those of us chosen by God know that the day of Christ’s return is nearer today than it ever was, and in turn, we choose to be on the right side of righteousness. We choose to let our lives glorify Him. We choose a life that delights Him. We choose a life of permanence. We choose to be excited for the day of our resurrection with Christ, so we choose to prepare today. We choose to love today. We choose to give today. We choose to sacrifice today. We choose to serve today.

“And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.'” Mark 9: 35, NKJV

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