|God’s Elite. Matthew 19.27-Matthew 20.16
The more time I spend in the Bible, the more valuable it is to me…
the more I read, the more I want to read from its pages…truly!
The more I memorize, the more it replays in my mind…
the more I dig to understand its context and meaning,
the more I see the breath of God perfectly constructing it.
The more I learn of Jesus, the more I long to see him.
The more I learn of God’s thoughts – how high and how
the more I realize how shallow are mine.
The more I get to know his ways, the more I see
how different they are from mine1.
‘And of his priorities,
that they are upside down from the world’s.
When Jesus answered the probing questions of the young man who came to him,2
he realized that his affection for his things separated him from Jesus and true life forever. The realization hit him hard, but he seemed resigned to separation from God—what a price to pay! As the disciples looked on, they wondered what it all meant to them.
Check it out:
“Then Peter chimed in, “We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?”
Jesus replied, “Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”
“God’s kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work.
“Later, about nine o’clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went.
“He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o’clock. At five o’clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, ‘Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?’
“They said, ‘Because no one hired us.’
“He told them to go to work in his vineyard.
“When the day’s work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.’
“Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’
“He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?’
“Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.” THE MESSAGE.
Or as the NIV states, So the last will be first, and the first will be last.
Jesus’ response to Peter reveals that God’s economy is different than ours. Those who sacrifice for God will be recompensed in Heaven. And those who come to God in the 11th hour will be welcomed into his arms as though they belonged to him all their lives. Don’t you remember the thief on the cross next to Jesus? At his 11th hour, he said, ‘Remember me today!’ And Jesus said, ‘Yes, I will remember you in Paradise.’ What matters is that they came! Sometimes individuals do not make a move toward God because they are hung up on their past faith-less-ness, even moral failures … they feel that they could never be good enough for God—especially as they compare themselves to another. But come on—that’s not how God operates. He neither grades on a curve nor compares us to others, nor does he have an elite team of favorites!
God has his arms open wide, ready to receive any that will turn and give themselves to him. He generously scoops them into his arms and makes them part of the family.
1 – Isaiah 55.8-9
2 – Matthew 19.16-26