The only list that matters

I wasn’t ever all that good at basketball, but I wanted to be. When I was in the tenth grade, I decided to go ahead and try out for the varsity team.

My chances of making it weren’t good.

Nevertheless, I hoped to impress the coaches, so I practiced for hours. I worked on my jump shot, my dribbling, my quickness, and my strength.

After tryouts the coach told us that the final list would be posted outside his office by the end of school the next day.

I’d never wanted my name to be on any list as badly as I wanted it to be on that one.

I wasn’t optimistic, but I still hoped.

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I still remember where the list was posted, and what it looked like.

I remember scanning it quickly the first time.

And then again, this time more slowly.

And a third time, finally confirming what I had suspected.

What would almost certainly have been an illustrious career in the NBA had been cut short even before it began.

If only that coach could’ve seen the budding potential . . .

You’ve probably got a story like that one, maybe about something considerably more important.

A list of scholarship recipients that you hoped your name was on.

A list of those who were selected for an internship.

A list of the finalists who made the cut to get an interview for the job of your dreams.

Maybe your name was on it, maybe it wasn’t.

And maybe you’ve lived long enough to realize that your whole life didn’t hinge on making that list, though it seemed so at the time.

But there is a list that matters.

A lot.

Paul mentions it here:

Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life (Philippians 4:3).

God’s list, his record of all those who believe.

His family, redeemed children, heaven-bound believers, Spirit-indwelled Christ-followers.

Their names are engraved in his book.

I don’t think we understand the full implications of that.

Our world measures value by the letters tacked onto the ends of our names, or by how many Who’s Who lists we’re on.

Our names are printed in hundreds of places, from diplomas to plaques and trophies that adorn our office walls and bookshelves.

At the end of the day—or certainly at the end of a life—only one thing matters, though.

It’s not about making the team or getting the internship or receiving the job offer. None of those lists will matter much then.

What will matter at that time is this: as a son or daughter of God, your name is written in his book with love.

When you scroll down that list and see your name, you’ll care about absolutely nothing else.

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