Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Thursday, August 3 - From Last To First

“But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” — Mark 9:34-35

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In May 2023, Brayden Prichard, a Louisiana high school all-star track athlete, closed out his high school career by becoming the state championship gold medalist in the 800-meter race. But two years prior at the Louisiana state meet, he ran the same race, brutally finishing in last place.

His strong work ethic and determination catapulted him to the next level of training, proving he would not be a servant to defeat. His father, a skilled athletic trainer, became his coach and they executed a master plan built to increase speed, VO2 max (volume of oxygen), and lactate threshold. The father-son duo worked tirelessly, grinding out late-night training sessions, which led to a victory and school record.

What does it take to be considered the Greatest Of All Time (G.O.A.T.)? In the world of sports, this title is given to an elite athlete who has been deemed the best of the best in their craft. No one in the past, present or future can compare to their greatness. These athletes have coaches who fuel their ambition and drive to be legendary.

But Jesus coached the 12 disciples — by training them in the likeness of His image and teaching them — that the only way to greatness is by serving others and advancing the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35).

Physically, Brayden endured grueling workouts that took every ounce of mental clarity and focus to complete. Spiritually, Brayden laid it all at the feet of Jesus, as his Christian father empowered him to understand the importance of making yourself last and Jesus first. On race day, his father’s eyes pierced intensely on his son as he watched him cross the finish line and raise his hands in victory. It was an amazing spiritual moment between an earthly father, his son and their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The joy on Brayden’s face and the pointing to the sky to give God the glory will be etched on his father’s heart for a lifetime.

Brayden said, “Winning is amazing, but I know there is more work to do!” God has a divine purpose for each of our lives. He has called us for such a time as this to give selflessly and become the servant of all. Our work continues until we transition to our Heavenly home. With each crossing of the finish line, Brayden would turn to find his father as if to seek his approval or receive the guidance for ways to improve. His last race produced a feeling of finality as his high school career came to an end.

When our earthly race is finished, we will come face to face with Jesus. All who believe will be rewarded with the ultimate gold medal: eternal life with Him. And may Jesus boldly proclaim, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done!”

— Kimberly P. Grimes

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