{Five Minute Friday} Last: So the last will be first, and the first last.

“So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” Matthew 20:16 NKJV

{Today I’m joining the wonderful LisaJo of thegypsymama and a beautiful community of bloggers for the 5 minute Friday writing prompt. Today the word is LAST.}

So many thoughts come to mind with the word “Last.” I immediately think about a conversation that I had last night with a new friend who is a sister in faith. She talked about her life before Christ. And she mentioned that she always had to be first – first in her school and in her career. She constantly needed to be on top. And then she learned that she didn’t need to be first because she had Jesus. She just needed to do her best in the eyes of Christ.

Although I have never been a person to constantly need to be first in terms of competition with others, I have always set really (really!) high standards and goals for myself. And even though there seems to be nothing wrong with setting goals and working hard to achieve them. I wasn’t doing what God wanted me to do or what Jesus wanted for my life. I was doing what “I” wanted and thought was right. I set the goals and I only {without God} set out to achieve them. This was my way of thinking and behaving before I began a life with Christ. It is wrong thinking, not biblical, and not what God calls us to do.

It’s hard when we are taught by modern American culture that we are to be ambitious, goal-oriented, and competitive. We are to live in this dog eat dog world. This is the manner in which we, as Americans, are supposed to live, survive, and thrive. However, this is not the life that God calls us to live.

“So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” Matthew 20:16 NKJV

Life is not a race. And more importantly, no matter what – we are called to follow Christ and what he wants for our lives. We are to strive to have life with Christ. And those of us that truly follow Jesus, with their hearts and souls, will have the greatest reward – salvation and eternal life with Jesus Christ. His heavenly reward exceeds anything on planet Earth. It doesn’t matter whether we were first here or last here – we are all equal in Christ.

I’m still learning this lesson. God is working (working hard I’m sure) to continue to show me how I am supposed to live. I know that I am finding such peace and rest in the Lord when I focus on Him – and not whether I am first to achieve my numerous goals.

Praying that you are living your best life in Christ,

Five Minute Friday

{She Reads Truth} Abigail’s Story & Speaking Life

So, today I’m joining with the ladies of She Reads Truth as they study the Women in the Bible. {Note: I’m playing a little catch-up on the series, so this study was actually a few days ago.} Today, my studies focused on the story of Abigail, which can be found in 1 Samuel 25:2-44. Her story was brand new to me, like so many of the women of the bible. I find myself really looking forward to learning more and more about the rarely told stories of the heroines of the bible.

Abigail’s story really touched me because of her quiet strength, determination, courage, and discernment. A little background (from the words of She Reads Truth): Abigail was gifted with beauty and intelligence, but had the misfortune of having a fool for a husband, the surly and mean Nabal (1 Samuel 25: 3). His foolishness, anger and impulsivity, left Abigail scrambling to try to prevent disaster on her household at the hands of David and his men.

For me, her story is unique. Many biblical stories and teachings call on women to follow their husbands because the husbands are the head of the homes. In this novel story, God used her, and her alone, to become a vessel of truth and speak to David’s heart without her husband’s knowledge or input. Due to Abigail’s careful words to David, humble nature, and quiet strength, she was able to save her entire household from destruction.

Her story has challenged me in so many ways. It has made me really think that women are sometimes called separate and apart from their husbands to serve their households. It also makes me think that God is not calling on us to be weak or in the background. We are to listen for God’s words and learn discernment. We, as women, must know how to listen for God’s call in every situation – whether it is in our households, our marriages, our outside the home. We have to lead and serve when we are called to do so or when our husbands simply cannot. And we have to know when and the difference.

The other way Abigail’s story moved me was her quiet strength and the careful words that she used to speak to David. She spoke in such a way that David’s heart could hear her heart and God’s Truth. I really wish that I could speak that way to everyone that I come in contact with. Don’t you? I know that I haven’t yet mastered the spiritual discipline and practice of going to prayer before speaking and acting, especially in areas of my life where it truly counts. Abigail highlights the power of obedience to God and the beautiful results.

I know that I will meditate on Abigail’s story and God’s words in Proverbs 15:1-4 (ESV):

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh words stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

My prayer: Lord, help me today and every day listen for your call on my life and my tongue. Help me to hear your voice and obey your message. Lord, I ask that you train me to become a speaker of your Truth and impart life to those I meet. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Abigail’s story and the power of our tongues. What are you praying for?

Wishing you much hope, joy, and peace this week,

Linking up with this community!