Have you ever been chosen last by God?
And for me to make this admission on a public blog is somewhat unpleasant. Goodness, it’s bad enough being the last one picked for kickball, let alone picked last by God. Then, to go around telling everyone you were chosen last, well, such information usually doesn’t help your popularity level.
But, I want to share my experience with you because I believe you might be going through a time when God has chosen you last, too. And I want to offer you some encouragement straight from the Word.
Nearly two years ago, I felt God leading me to write. I followed His calling, started a blog, connected the blog to social media sites, and began posting what He placed on my heart. I began fine tuning my craft with writer’s conferences and training groups. I enjoyed the calling and loved to write alongside Him. Dreams were placed in my heart. Dreams to reach other women with truths from the Bible. Dreams to speak at conferences and churches. Dreams to have published books and studies. But as the days turned into months and the months into years, my dreams led by God seemed to slow down. This was not the pace I wanted. Writing friends I had made along the way were flourishing! They had book deals, more social media followers, larger book sales, and smiles on their faces. But me, not so much.
I felt God had overlooked me. It was as if He had led me to a path, started me on my journey, and then left to go bless other writers. He let them reach their dreams, while mine became less a reality. I was being chosen last.
The feeling of being passed over reminds me of the apostles, and the time Jesus fed the 5,000. Imagine you are one of the disciples we see in the story of Mark 6:30:
You just arrived back to report to Jesus all the work you have been doing for Him! You have been witnessing, teaching, and drawing followers for Christ. You are dirty and tired from all the travel and hard work needed to fulfill the task Jesus asked of you. You are hungry and wearing old clothes because the line of work you are in does not provide a hefty paycheck. In fact, you earn no money working for the Lord, but rely on the merit of those you encounter on your travels. You pray for God to allow your path to cross with those who need to hear about Jesus, and those willing to share a loaf of bread and cot in their house with you. You have not seen your family and loved ones in months, and while doing this work, you are constantly looking over your shoulder for the enemy planning evil against you. Enemies like the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Satan himself.
Upon returning to the Messiah, and eager to share all you have accomplished in His name, He says to you, “Come with me by yourself to a quiet place and get some rest.” Yes! This sounds wonderful to you and your 11 fatigued companions who have been doing the same tasks as yourself in other regions! After all the hard work you have been doing, it is time to eat, fellowship with your best friends, and interact with the Teacher! You hop in a boat with Jesus and the other apostles to row to a solitary place, but Jesus is so popular. So loved. So worshipped. So sought after. The crowds will simply not leave you all alone. They follow your boat to the solitary place you all sought, and you realize there is no getting away from the mob of people (Mark 6:31-33).
Your hunger and weariness amplifies your frustration in not being able to rest with the Lord. Time with Him is always a blessing. He laughs with you, educates you, and reminds you of why you do His work. Instead, Jesus begins teaching these people He does not even know, and you know the quiet moment He offered to you has been snatched away by these sheep looking for Jesus to be their shepherd. Why doesn’t He tell them to go away? Why doesn’t He tell them He wants to spend time with you and not them? Doesn’t He see how hard you have been working? You deserve His time and recognition, not them. Right? Why is He choosing them over you? (Mark 6:34-36)
Not only has Jesus decided you all will not have a private moment together, He now asks you to feed this crowd He has more compassion toward than you. To feed such a crowd would require half a year’s wages! Wages that are non-existent considering you all are living in poverty for Him! What is He thinking? When you tell the Messiah the only options available, He has you gather 5 loaves of bread and two fish. This is certainly not enough to feed this crowd. He prays over this small meal and then has you and the other 11 distribute these portions out to the crowd. Miraculously, the basket you are handing this food out of never goes empty. The bread and fish keep multiplying until every single person in this crowd is fed. You’re astounded, but can’t quite get rid of the grudge that is developing in your heart. You were already tired but now have to serve all these people because of His multiplying miracle? There are 5,000 men plus their families here! You walk throughout the crowd and give them food, and it takes hours. You engage in small talk because it is the polite thing to do and answer question after question from people eager to learn more about Jesus. Ugh. All you wanted was to go rest in a solitary place, but now, hours later you still have received no rest and must continue to serve. It’s clear. Jesus chose this crowd of strangers over you (Mark 6:37-44).
Oh, my. These were exactly my thoughts when I felt my writing dreams were dwindling. Here I was, toiling away in writing for Jesus. I was working hard for His Kingdom, reaching out to others, and certainly not making any money. I did it all for free because I enjoyed it, and I knew it was what He asked of me. But, when all the work I was doing began to get difficult and tiring, I looked to Him to take me to a quiet place, pat me on the back and reward me with a publishing deal, or 100 likes on a post. When I did not get these things, but saw others receiving them, it was as if He had decided to choose the crowd over me.
Have you ever felt overlooked by God? Maybe there are moments when you wonder why He didn’t choose you over the crowd….
- You are struggling with infertility, and want nothing more than to have a child. You love the Lord and seek His counsel for every decision you and your husband must make about embryos, injections, and doctor visits. You never give up. You put on a brave face, share your story with others, and pray without ceasing. Yet, when you see another one of your friends announce she is pregnant, you can’t help but feel God has overlooked you.
- You give 110% at your job. You reflect Christ to your colleagues. God wanted you to serve at this workplace, and so here you are. A promotion comes up, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for you. A better way to provide for your family with a chance to have a positive and godly influence on more people. But, when you don’t get the promotion and your coworker does, you wonder why God overlooked you.
- You’ve been on multiple dates. You set and keep boundaries in place to obey God’s commands in keeping yourself pure for your future husband. You’re doing everything right, but none of the relationships seem to work out. Marriage and family are something you long for. As you attend another spring wedding that is not yours, a feeling of being overlooked creeps in. Why doesn’t God send you your prince charming, as everyone else is enjoying their fairy tale?
I do not know what situation you are feeling chosen last in, but I want you to pray about it. I know this might be difficult considering you likely feel hurt and let down. You have some fears and doubts as being chosen last sinks in. I have felt these things, too, and praying during such a time can be hard. But, please, pray with me as we navigate this together. I think we are going to see being chosen last does not mean less than, less talented, or less seen. It might mean these things in kickball, but not with our God.
With God, last is a lesson taught with love.
Read Mark 6:30-44 when the feeling of being overlooked sneaks in this week. Let’s imagine, as we read, what advice we would give the overlooked apostle we pretended to be above. We know what he is feeling because we have felt it as well. How would we counsel him? What is he not seeing? How can we relate to him? I also want us to consider this…
What if God is not overlooking us? What if He is purposely choosing us last, to teach us lessons we desperately need?
Leave your comments/prayer requests below, share if you enjoyed what you read, and join me at next Monday’s post! We will continue this apostle’s story and find answers to our own chosen-last situations together!
If you like this post, you might want to read A Pity Party on I-65.