From Last to First and First to Last (365 Days of Daring Faith – DAY 160)
Matthew 19:30 (NLT)
But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.
Where in the world does it work for the last in line to be moved to the front of the line and the first in line to be pushed to the back? Nowhere. In our society, that would be considered unfair. If eleven people are in line at a grocery store checkout counter and you are first in that line, how would you feel if person number eleven was put in front of you and you were pushed to the back? You wouldn’t feel so special. You might even go off on the manager or the person who was put ahead of you.
Making the last first and the first last doesn’t work in any society, among any people, anywhere in the world. “First come, first serve” means exactly that and nothing else. But yet this is the system that Jesus sets up here. What does He mean when He makes this declaration? As believers, we are called to a higher standard of living, namely one of humility and service. What is right in God’s kingdom looks far different in our little world.
The way we as humans deal and the way God deals is far different. Our system of merit does not work in God’s kingdom. God does not give us what we deserve. He gives according to His goodness and grace. We don’t have to work our way to Heaven; we simply need to believe. What is better than fairness? Goodness. Goodness is always better than fairness. This is the way God operates. He is good and rewards us based upon His goodness not based upon what we consider to be fair or unfair.
Everything is by grace. Our inheritance in Heaven is not because we were born first, we are older, we are a certain race, we have a good GPA, or anything else. Earthly inheritances are measured by these things, and many come with a good deal of unfairness. In God’s economy, it is all by grace. It is never about how good we are. It is God’s desire and pleasure to reward us according to His goodness. Thank God for reversing the system, for rejecting our performance and merits (because we could never measure up), and freely extending grace and goodness to all of us.
“In God’s garden of grace, even a broken tree can bear fruit.”
— Rick Warren