Nice Guys Finish Last

So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Matthew 20:16

Ariana, Jezziah and Owen –

It’s not easy to be last all the time. To remain quiet and wait for others to be done speaking. To let others be first. To give away something that was once yours. To do the right thing when no one is looking.

At the end of your life, you’ll be able to say to yourself:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7

The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Matthew 25:40

So, life is not meant to be easy, and you are not meant to be first. But, you are meant to serve as an example to others.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Mathew 5:13-16

Be courageous in your faith. This world is lacking that in so many ways. Especially now in this day. I was, and never will be perfect at this, but it is something that I try to do everyday. There was a time in my early twenties where I actually said to God, “Bring the rain, Jesus” – because I knew that with rain, flowers grow. I knew that with pain and suffering, my weakness would make Jesus’ love known.

You do not need to be a pastor to preach. You do not need to stand on a pulpit to preach. You do not need an infinite source of money to spread love. You do not need to have a million friends or fame or fortune to speak into people’s lives. All you need is love and faith.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Matthew 22:36-40

I know that would be hard if you have someone in your life that makes your life challenging. I know that feels difficult when you have a dream that conflicts with the love that God gave you. We have to set aside our earthly desires and store our treasures up in heaven:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21

You’ll be challenged in your life to lie, cheat or steal, because the temptations are of the flesh. Those who say they are never tempted, are not honest with themselves. Remember in those moments where that opportunity is presented, that God is always there with you, and He will never forsake you.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when yo are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

My hope for you is simple: that you would love God, and not let the pride of having those who surround you looking to you for direction, blind you from your faith and love in Christ. You were meant for great things in this life, and I couldn’t be more proud of you all. Whether you become a janitor, a doctor, lawyer, beautician, singer, soldier, dietician, electrician, linesman, office worker, hole digger or dirt mover. I mean, you could do and be anything in this world, and I would be proud of you. My only hope is that you would do that with God; and He will never leave you.

So when life is hard, remember that even though you may finish last; finishing first is not the mission: the mission is to love God, and love people, and help each other finish the race together. One day, our broken bodies will be reunited together with Christ in heaven.

Your mother and I are so proud of you all, and we love being your parents. We can’t wait to see what you become!

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