“There are no CROWN-WEARERS in Heaven who were not CROSS-BEARERS here below.”
Quote from Charles Spurgeon [1834-1892]
In the human mind, first, last, and greatest is an issue. In God’s scripture, it is part of the Gospel and should never be an issue with believers.
Have you ever asked God to let you be half as good as your dog thinks you are? In the hay day of my sport’s career, I was a ledge in my own mind. I found that even if I were twice as good as I thought I was, I’d only be half as good as my teammates. Always the last chosen for the team, only to be the first benched, struct-out, or even asked to retire.
Many scenarios in life find us more often last than first. If your last name starts at the end of the alphabet rest assure, you’re last in line for school lunch and last to receive your diploma. Please don’t get me started on the grocery lines; you get the picture.
There are two lines I have stood in that took a physical and psychological toll on me.
First was physical: The two hours I’ve waited to get on a ride at Disneyland. Exhausted from the heat, $8.75 for a small coke, but the three-minute ride took my breath away.
The second was psychological: Our family went to the drive-in-theater once a month. I was in the fifth grade at that time. During intermission, my entire family went to the concession stand for food.
Of course, we had a rule for this event, like all others. We all had to wear pajamas just in case we went asleep on the way home. An excellent and convenient idea for my parents, but I had friends that saw me standing in line in my PJs. Also, at that time in my life, I was looking for a girlfriend. But there I was with my crew cut, scars from my operation shining bright under the fluorescent lighting. Humiliated doesn’t come close to what I experienced — standing in line with my PJs, robe, and slippers on as friends walked by. Amazingly, they didn’t have a new nickname for me at school. But wait, a name is a coming.
“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.”
To emphasize my tales of woe, years ago, I loved playing flag football after school, and especially in the rain. Buddy and I were always last picked for aside. He was as heavy as any linebacker today. The rules were to pull a flag from the kid with the football, which considered him (tackled) down. However, Big-Bad-Buddy played by his own rules when I had the ball. He would always tackle me hard and rub my face into the field. He thought it was so funny, and no one had my back because you don’t mess with Buddy! Despite the pain, I continued to play the game, predetermined to outrun BBB.
Time Is Our Bus Stop – Eternity Is Our Destination
Speaking of rules, back in the ’60s, schools were not concerned with anyone’s self-esteem. We were to suck-it-up and get on with it. They had rules for everything, along with consequences for not following them. Any teacher had the privilege to spank us with paddleboards designed with holes for maximum thrust. One day Buddy was talking in the woodshop and took one to the side of his head.
Moving my story forward, because of my love for football, I decided to try out for the team during my Freshman year. However, a tragic thing happened on the road to my NFL CAREER. Another school rule blindsided me. One’s head must sport a crew-cut to play on the team. Talk about the rules from my past re-visiting my life. Confronted with the memories of the chanting of my nickname ‘Scar-Head,’ I had a choice to make.
Remember I mentioned ‘a new name is a coming.’ My new nickname in High School had become Mr. Green Jeans. My parents bought me six pairs of them because they were cheaper than blue jeans. Kids are plain cruel! So, every day was a green day for me. Today being green is all the rave. Not wanting to have two nicknames, I stuck with Mr. Green Jeans and gave up my high paying NFL career.
CROSS-BEARERS ON EARTH BECOME CROWN-WEARERS IN HEAVEN
Although our past might hurt, today and into our future, there is always hope in Christ Jesus. Remember, His trials and pain on earth allows him to help with our tests and to comfort us during our sojourn. With Christ in our lives, understanding and empathy are now a part of our ministry to help those going through difficulties.
Sometimes being last in the past is the best thing for your future. Roxana and I were the last of our friends to be married in Christ. Three decades on, we are the last couple standing. Seeing the trials, our friends went through became teachable lessons we applied. I learned early on that it is our carpet that I have the privilege to vacuum. Besides that, we give God all the glory!
“The Fiery Trials of Life Prepare and Protect the Pathway to Your Heavenly Mansion.”
Written by, Brad Wyrick