After getting off the plane in Quito Ecuador, I was standing in a long line for immigration. A long line of about 100 people were waiting to approach one of two open windows where an immigration agent would stamp your passport. Of course, where was I in this line? The very last. In front of me were a young couple from what sounded to me like France, and the line was going along pretty slowly.
Well after about 10 minutes or so of this, I saw the young couple cut under the dividers (the ones that look like long seat belts not meant to save you in case of an accident but from getting out of line) and go over to another window where there was no line. This was the line for Ecuadorian nationals, and now it was completely empty. I understood what they were doing. It had all the drama of a mad dash for freedom. Everyone was captivated and watching, we all dreamt of the doing the same, the chaos that would ensue if they were accepted. But after a very short conversation, the couple came back to our line, humbled, all the way to the last place in line. Which was exactly two places behind where they were, and right behind me. They basically switched places with me. The guy smiled at me and said, “It was worth the try!” “Here, do you want your space back?”
I admire the couple for taking a shot. What could you lose, when you’re at the end of the line? There aren’t any regrets for taking a shot. When you’re last, it’s always worth the try.
When Jesus calls his closest disciples, he invites them to be last. Poor, without popularity, without pull and influence. It’s because he wants us to be free to be a disciple, free to take risks, to not having any regrets about doing something radical and adventurous, coming out of the lines of life, out of the comfort zone. If you’ve got a lot of dependent people at home, how are you going to travel around preaching the Gospel and ministering to people? How are you going to take the risks of getting locked up in jail, of even being executed? If you’re tied to your investments, how are you going to have time to think about what you’re going to say to a group of strangers who’ve gathered to hear the Word of God? If you’ve got a nice home, how are you going to put up with life with strangers? If you’re the boss, how are you going to cherish people’s inadequacies and failings over their strengths and successes`, how are you going to listen to people? And if you’re really popular, how are you going to say anything that hasn’t already been heard?
But if you’re last?
Well, what can you lose?
It’s always worth the try.
For freedom Christ has set us free. (Gal 5:1)