The last will be first

We all have areas of our lives that frustrate us: the way we can’t stop yelling at our kids, that chip on our shoulder that we can’t seem to get rid of, or that sinful habit that we can’t seem to overcome.   We might even say that this is where we fall in “last place” in an imaginary lineup. But that’s not the way Jesus thinks.   He is not running the earth like a race in which there are winners and losers and runners-up.   There is no competition in the kingdom of God.   He wants everyone to win—especially the ones the world might consider to be in last place.

Isn’t that good news?   There is no line!   It’s never too late to take the next step toward the Lord.

For instance, God might have been asking you for years to control your anger, remove the chip from your shoulder, or stop committing the same sin over and over again.   But suppose that you do find the grace to change.   He won’t ask,  “What took you so long?”   His mercy is abundant and overflowing. It doesn’t work on a schedule or a tight deadline, so you’re not late.

This is a hard concept to wrap our minds around.   Jesus doesn’t keep time or measure progress the same way our boss or anybody else does.   Everything depends on his free gift of grace—a gift that he offers us to the very end.   That’s why “the last will be first” (Mark 10:31).   It’s not necessarily because they will outrun the first; it’s because the people we consider “last” will be treated just as bountifully as the ones who we think are “first.”

Jesus promised that anyone who gives up his old way of life will receive “a hundred times more now in this present age . . . and eternal life in the age to come” (Mark 10:30).   Even you.

This is an unusual race you’re running.   The rules are stacked in your favor!   So leave behind any frustration that you feel, and start fresh today once again.   Ask the Lord to show you his mercy in just the place you need it.   Let that mercy remind you that it’s never too late to change or to try again.

Word Among Us