Monday, July 11th, 2011
From Worst to First
Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him...
Luke 15:22 (NAS)
1991 was a big year for me and my house. We moved to Atlanta, our talent convention went national, and I began a diet to lose 220 pounds (two thirds of me).
It was also the year I got caught up in baseball fever, as the Atlanta Braves went from 'worst to first,' winning the National League pennant and beginning a baseball dynasty.
The Bible tells many worst-to-first stories. Saul was the worst Jewish persecutor of Christians who became Paul, Jesus' first international missionary to the Gentiles. Mary Magdalene a demon-possessed woman who became the first person to see our resurrected Messiah. David was an insignificant shepherd who became Israel's greatest king.
Jesus tells the parable of the Prodigal Son. By laws of birth order, he could never be first. In addition, he left home and wasted his fortune on 'riotous living.' It's a classic worst-to-first story, as the young man's father later gives him 'the best robe' and 'kills the fatted calf' in an unprecedented celebration of repentance.
Why will there 'be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance' (Luke 15:7)? Some of us feel like the prodigal's older brother--disgruntled to see a person we deem undeserving elevated.
Why will 'many who are last...be first' (Matthew 19:30)?
Perhaps through mistakes, humbling, and even failure, those people once deemed as 'worst' most appreciate God's goodness. The lessons? 1. Nothing is impossible for God. 2. God loves an underdog. 3. Never look down on anyone who may by His grace go from worst to first.