Derek Smith 

Lead Pastor 

Mark 10:29-31

29Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

As a teenager I used to love to play baseball, and with that came an avid interest in the Major Leagues. Growing up in the south I soon fell in love with the Atlanta Braves. I can still remember turning on TBS and listening to Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren call those games all summer long. The Braves were the laughingstock of the MLB for decades, until that famous 1991 season. Halfway through the 1991 season the Braves were on their typical track of mediocrity. They were down 9 ½ games to the first place Dodgers with no genuine hope in sight. Then the magical run began. John Smoltz won 12 of his last 14 starts, Tom Glavine won 20 games for the first time, Otis Nixon stole a career high 72 bases, Ron Gant had a career high 32 homers and 104 RBI’s, and the aged Terry Pendleton went on to win the National League batting title. They became the first team in National League history to go from worst to first. Worst to first, what a ride! 

In Mark 10 Jesus taught the disciples a lesson about money and material possessions, and He told them that it is extremely hard for someone who is all about money and material things to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. He finishes the conversation by saying “many who are first will be last, and the last first.” The Christian life is first to last then last to first, it is moving myself from first place to last place so Jesus can be first. As Jesus tells Peter and us here, losers win and winners lose. You can gain the whole world and still lose your soul, but when you lose it all for Jesus you gain eternal life and purpose. Salvation is leaving the doldrums of a materialistic and selfish mindset to gain Heaven. The Christian life is the continuation of this same pursuit, to find ultimate joy in Christ and store up treasure in Heaven instead of chasing temporal trophies. Today, don’t be a loser. Put yourself, your pursuits, and your possessions last so Jesus can be first and you will win what really matters.  Go worst to first by giving it all to Jesus, put him first daily, and the joy of the Kingdom will fill your soul.