Several times in the Gospels Jesus makes the statement: “The last will be first, and the first last.” You know what always comes to my mind when I read or hear those words? Gym class. “All right kids, line up! Anthony Athletic, you’re a captain!” the gym teacher barks. “Billy Buff Body you’re the other captain. Billy, call it, heads or tails? It’s tails; Anthony, you get first choice!”
You remember that, don’t you? The really good athletes got chosen first and then any remaining popular kids followed by the predictable descending order of the so-so’s (this was me), the less than’s, and ended with the last two humiliated scarred-for-life kids (who I always felt bad for).
That is the way of the world. Those with power, position and the most possessions are first, so too, the best and the brightest; the shiny and the pretty. The world despises weak and ordinary things; weak and ordinary people.
The way of God is different. “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” (I Corinthians 1:26-29)
God chose a manger. God chose Nazareth and carpenter’s tools. God chose Palestine’s dusty roads. God chose a cross, a cursed tree. All appears weak and ordinary. “But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ [is] the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (I Corinthians 1:24)
There is a day coming when He will chose the teams – and the last will be first, and the first last.