You probably have heard this saying: “Nice guys finish last.”
That is such an odd statement because it has so many variables.
- How do you define “nice”?
- What things do I need to do to be nice?
- Is being a nice guy a sign of weakness?
- If I’m nice am I more prone to wedgies in junior high?
- Are their percentages of niceness that would allow me to be a little bit behind, but not completely last?
- What if a nice person has a bad day, are they open to more success that day?
- If a guy gets caught robbing a bank is it because he was nicer than the other guys with him or just slower?
I’ll stop there because my brain could create hundreds of these questions, but although I hear that statement a bunch I also hear people say that since they are a “nice person” or “do more good things than bad things” they are ok with God.
You and I know plenty of “nice” people that don’t believe in God, and they do a lot of great things for their families and community. Honestly, I’d much rather hang out with a nice atheist, than a jerk Christian any day.
Scripture unfortunately does not have a “nice-guy” exception clause when it comes to matters of Eternity. If that were the case, then the list I created above would be infinitely longer to determine who is nice and who is not and also what degree of niceness one would have to reach in order to earn exemption from their sins.
Let’s face it, everyone can make a case that they are nice. Even the most harden criminal could point to a tender moment in their life with their grandmother or a pet to show they have a “nice” side. There has to be more to determining matters of our soul than the length of our Facebook friends list or the number of casseroles we make for our sick friends.
Jesus is the only bar that matters when it comes to Eternal matters.
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”” – John 14:6
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12
Our “goodness” and “niceness” are awesome, but they need to come out of a regenerated heart and motivated because of how good Jesus was to us.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8
Being a Christian will always give you different results than the world says you should get.
It may even look like you are finishing last because you won’t lie to get ahead, or cheat to get more money, or decide to fight for your marriage even if everyone else says to leave, but what they don’t see is that you and I are competing in a different race.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 7:21
We are competing in a spiritual race that is only finished when we see Jesus face-to-face upon our death. And in that moment His first question won’t be for the list of all our good deeds and how nice we were.
The questions we will be asked is, “Did we know Him as Lord and Savior?”
That answer is what smashes the “nice” scales. That answer levels the fields of “good things”. That answer is what eternity hangs on.
So whether I finish last a few times in this life or not, it doesn’t matter as long as I finish first in the Race that matters.