Summary: This sermon is about those who feel like they are the least, or the last, and to let them know that they are also The Chosen!
Now don’t raise your hand, because I don’t wnat to embarass anyone, but answer this in your own mind. Who here this morning has ever hated the moment when two captains were chosen to pick teams, and somehow you knew that when it came to the end of the picking order, you would likely be one of the ones chosen last?
When I was about 4th Grade, I was playing Little Leauge Baseball…Well, mostly I played “benchwarmer” for the Reds. The two coaches were Methodist… Members of the church my father pastored. You think that would help. Sometimes, if the Reds were ahead…I’d get in for just a little bit. But, mostly we had losing season, so you know how much I played. The Team to beat was a team named the Tigers. They had some really good players who were a year and two years older than me.
I really wanted to play baseball and so I went out for baseball in my 5th Grade year, and as was the custom, I returned to my team, the Reds. Those two years (4& 5th) again, the team to beat was the Tigers. They had some of the best players. Older boys, who would later be on teams (of any sport) that had makings of State Championship teams.
My 6th Grade year, the Tigers had lost their older players to Jr. High, and the draft choice was short. The Reds were asked to give up a player to the draft. Remember, they lost a lot of good players. And now there were new players and new coaches on the Tigers. Including a very late round draft choice named Scott Bradford. Yes, I got picked to be on the Tigers.
Our first game was against (you guessed it) the Reds. I was daydreaming when I heard the Coach say “Left Field – Scott Bradford”. I counted, we only had nine players! My chance had come, because a starter had not shown up. I played. Caught some balls, made some hits, missed some too.
Bottom of the Ninth…The Tigers wereahead by 1. Reds were up to bat. Two outs. Man on 2nd. Big Al was up to bat. My old Coach, he was heard to say “Hit it to Bradford”. Miracles do happen, and Big Al probably can’t believe I caught the ball! Game over.
I didn’t start every game, but I played. Tigers, we went 11-0 and I still got the signed baseball to prove it. Look here, my name is even first on the list of players (alphabetical no less) but proving the last to be drafted shall be first (or something like that).
Chosen late…But I became part of the Team…And in the end, I received the same reward! Interesting thing in the Kingdom of God! Come in the late round draft… you the same reward as those who came early! God’s Kingdom is not just for the best! Or for the ones we like the most! Its not just for those who feel worthy! But the Kingdom of God is for the least and the last! They too are chosen!
In the parable of the laborers of the vineyard the message is clear, thos who were chosen late received the same as those who had been chosen early. That’s good news for us who did not come early to the relationship with the Master. If you came to him at age 6 or 7, or you came in your sixith winter, or even your seventieth, the reward is the same: The gift of God is eternal life.