Picked Last but Chosen First

Do you remember lining up as a kid in Phys Ed or recess, waiting to be picked for a team? If you were like me, you dreaded that time. You’d push your back against the hard brick wall of the school and act like you didn’t care. But really you hoped against hope that you weren’t picked last. How humiliating.

I was often picked last. I think it was because I was always the smallest kid in the class. Granted, being picked last for tug-of-war made sense. I would just dangle from the rope. But I was pretty good at other things. I was super-fast. My short little legs could really move—a skill cultivated running from big bullies. Anything that involved running fast, I was your girl.

But even with my successes, the next time teams were picked, there I was, last again. No matter how I had proven myself before, this was a new day, and I was still the runt. I hung my head in shame and slowly walked to the team unlucky enough to get me.

In the scheme of things, being picked last for a game isn’t the worst thing in the world (it just seems that way to a kid). As I got older my skills improved, although my height didn’t. I was rarely picked last anymore. But the feeling of humiliation was never far from me.

As a homeschool mom, I was involved with a group that met for different activities, including Physical Education. I was often put in charge of that (and almost never in charge of Art, with good reason). One day after our official time together, the kids were playing while the moms chatted and made plans for the next group meeting. I watched as one of the older boys lined up the kids to divide them into teams. A cold chill crept down my spine. Looking at the kids against the wall, I was sure which one would be last, and I felt for her.

But that older boy picked the first couple for each team (the older kids), and then broke the rest of the kids evenly in groups. The kids on the right, went to Team A. The kids on his left, Team B. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The kids joyfully ran to their teams. No one was chosen last. No heads were hanging. They were chosen as a team. And they were thrilled to be part of their team. What wisdom this boy had shown.

Did you know when it comes to God, if you are His, He chose you before you were even born? He didn’t wait to see your skill set or how well you performed. He chose you to be on His “team” before you ever took a step or even a breath. More amazingly, He chose you while you were his enemy and put you on the winning team. Who does that? Only someone who loves you unconditionally and was willing to humble Himself to save you.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will… (Ephesians 1:4,5 NIV)