Do you ever feel like the odds are stacked against you and honestly you don’t have a shot at coming out on top? Do you feel dismissed, and discounted, sometimes unworthy and unqualified, so you settle for a ‘lesser than’ position in life? Less than you really hoped for. Less than your heart desires. Less than you once believed possible, but now you see you really just don’t have what it takes.
What if you don’t make the cut? What if you weren’t good enough? What if there are others so much better than you, and everyone knows it? Well, it sounds like the makings of a Kentucky Derby winner to me!
On Saturday, only the best, fastest, most well trained horses competed in the Kentucky Derby. Well … all but one. One horse made it into the race by default. He wasn’t supposed to be there. He was out of his league, unknown, and never even given a chance. But, there’s no stopping what destiny has already aligned.
Only the top 20 horses are selected for this world famous horse race which has been running for 147 years. On the morning before the race, one horse was scratched, opening a spot for horse #21. But get this, the horse that was scratched, was already the replacement for a horse that was better than him for the final spot. Two crazy scratches and drops made it possible for a totally unlikely horse to get to run that day. He was a backup for the backup. Yes, the one that wasn’t good enough. The one that was never meant to be there.
That horse was Rich Strike. His entry was submitted 30 SECONDS before the deadline, and he was in! Now, what happened next, no one saw coming. Rich Strike’s odds of winning were 80 to 1. To put that into a percentage, there was only a 1.23% chance for Rich Strike to win. And, that 1.23% only happened because the two horses deemed better than him weren’t able to race. He had a 98.77% chance of losing the race. Betting on him would be basically a total waste of your money. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. No horse in the race was counted out more than him.
The majority of the 2 minute 6 second race, he spent in the the very back of the pack, in position 17 out of 20. In the final turn, he moved from the back, building speed, building confidence, building hunger, and in the final 4 seconds, he passed the lead and won the race, making this the greatest longshot upset of the race since 1913!
The horse that started the race LAST, finished FIRST.
Jesus had a little something to say about that, didn’t he? Matthew 20:16 ““So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
The very things you said were too far gone, Jesus says, NOT too far gone. The ones you counted completely out and never gave a chance … yeah, those are the ones you never see coming and come from last place to finish first. How? Well, frankly, however God has to work it to make it happen, then it shall happen!
A crazy, unexpected, last minute change that opens the door for you … The time you show up and no one thinks you have a chance, but you take the chance you’ve been given and dare to see exactly what God has really placed inside of you. And what you find is potential you didn’t even know you had!
No one looked at little David out in the pasture with his sheep and thought, “wow, that boy has the potential to take down this giant who has been threatening us.” BUT HE DID! That potential was in him because God declared ‘this one you counted as last is going to be first through my power that works in him.’
No one would have picked Moses as the leader of the Israelites. He stuttered and lacked confidence. But when God says, “you’re it … then you are undoubtedly IT!”
No one would have imagined Saul, the guy on the hunt for Christians to take their heads off (literally), would be chosen by God as the one to write the majority of our New Testament Bible! He would have been last on my list, but God said I’m going to change his heart, I’m going to change his mind, I’m going to change his story, and I’m changing his name from Saul to Paul, and he’s going to be first!
How about the woman at the well who had an encounter with Jesus? Mary Magdalene was at the well in the middle of the day because she was shunned by the other women of her community due to her lifestyle. She had been married 5 times and was living with a man who wouldn’t even marry her now. She was an outcast. Certainly chosen last. But Jesus chose her as the FIRST to reveal himself to as the Messiah. Yes, he told her FIRST. He chose her FIRST. The outcast. The last one any one else would have chosen, Jesus made her first, then he used her to save countless other souls.
Against all odds.
And maybe these are your odds too. They’re all against you. 80 to 1. 98.77% chance this isn’t ever going to happen for you. The last person anyone would choose … girl, show up for your race any way!
Philippians 3:14 “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
God is calling you on, so you press on! You run this race, even if you’re in last place right now. Other’s may dismiss you, but God has not. Do you hear that? You haven’t been dismissed. God has his eye on YOU!
Before the Kentucky Derby, no one lined up to interview the Rich Strike jockey, his owner or trainer. There were no stories airing about this horse, his past races, or his fast pace. Nothing. No one knew them, and no one cared. Even watching the race, the commentators never notice him coming up from the rear. They never mention him passing 5 horses, 8 horses, 10 horses, 15 horses. Not until he slides on up on the inside, and passes the 2 front runners racing to the finish, do the commentators say “and there’s Rich Strike!!!!!”
Stop caring about what everyone says about you. Stop hanging your worth on the recognition of others. None of that matters. Don’t you know you’re running this race for an audience of one? Don’t you know the only applause that matters is the applause of nail scarred hands?
One final scripture as you boldly show up for what you’re already counted out on, Philippians 3: 15-16 MSG “So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us.
Isn’t that YOU? Don’t you want EVERYTHING God has for you? Run your dang race, girlfriend, and stay focused on the prize Jesus is calling you to! You have an audience of ONE, and he’s the only one that matters. And guess what … he’s already placed his bet on YOU! ALL-IN!