I arrived a few minutes early for a meeting at a local Starbucks. The line wrapped away from the entrance to the store. As I was standing in line the newcomers took a few seconds to acclimate to the procedure of where to stand in line to order.
One of the ladies in front was dilly-dallying at the baked goods as an older guy walked in. He quickly gathered his bearings and saw the line and the opening caused by Mrs. Dally. He stepped to the front of the line and ordered his drink with authority.
I hate standing in lines. Patience has never been one of my strong suits. It’s not only the close proximity to strangers that bothers me, it sometimes like this time, is their actions. There always seems to be someone who thinks they’re above standing in line with the “regular” people.
Not many of us like to be “cut” in front of. Many times it gets a little dicey when the to-cool-for-school cutter gets called out. “HEY,” “NO CUTS”! Just like grade school all over again.
We all have a sense of what’s fair. Most of us play by the rules, subjecting ourselves to what’s equitable to everyone involved. When someone comes along in line and takes their turn out of order, we get a little upset.
We feel the anger, sometimes regret having said something, sometimes for having said nothing. We always sense the injustice in someone going before his or her turn.
So it is in this life. This life is like a big line and God hasn’t passed out any numbers. He knows the number of our turn in line, we don’t.
There aren’t many people looking to take cuts in this line. No, this is the line where you dread your turn at the front of the line.
When I was a freshman in high school for about a week during P.E. we had mandatory square dance lessons. Everybody dreaded it. After a couple days of being forced to dance like cowboys and cowgirls, we all were beginning to enjoy it. (Although all of us denied it)
The boys would line up in a long line coming out of the boys locker rooms on one side of the gym and the girls on the opposite side. As the boys line walked towards the girls line to pair up in the middle of the gym, there was more serious calculating in this scenario than in the math class.
Boys and girls alike counting from the front of the line back, seeing who fate would pair us up with. There was pushing, jumping out of line and finally settling into an accepted fate, good or bad.
Similarly we all want the perfect position in the line of life. Like in the square dance line, one can only move back so far before the inevitable turn has to be taken.
As we all move closer to the front of the line we all witness other people cutting in line. God calling them out of what we know as the proper order. Like a line at the post office, we feel anger or sadness, almost always injustice, especially when He calls the young ones.
What a person believes will impact how they’re going to react to being in the front of this life line. When we are called and pass through the doors that no human we know has come back from, what will await us?
Will we become grasshoppers in another life? Some people in the line think that it’s over. No soul, no nothing, just a permanent dirt nap. Others think that if they’ve been “pretty good,” and there is a God, things will work out.
As I look around I see and hear them taking. I wonder as we move closer to the front of the line, with absolutely no authority to jump back in line and time, how anyone can think they have the authority as a God to determine their value or worth.
How can they judge for themselves if they are worthy or not? If they had that authority to judge themselves, they would also have the authority to have command over they’re own life and death.
I’m learning that as we share this line of life, we need to reach out and do our best before God to help them understand what’s on the other side.
Each day that passes gets us a little closer to the front of this line, no one is looking for cuts now.
None of us know for sure who’s name will be called next.