BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Matthew 19:30 ESV
In yet another verse we run into the concept of the stark difference between the views of people in this world and the priorities of heaven. We admire success and wealth and achievement and position. All of these are commendable and deserve honor and respect, but they are not the sum total of life.
I like that statement, “It is what you learn after you know it all that makes the difference.” We could say, “It is what you achieve after you have achieved it all that makes the difference.” There are those who have sought the limelight and life on the pedestal only to find out that it didn’t deliver what was promised. An empty life before success, is an empty life with success.
In this passage, Jesus is talking about the difficulty of those who trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God. The disciples would fit perfectly into our modern era because their response is, “they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” (Matthew 19:25 ESV)
It is often observed that one of the great surprises of heaven is those who are not there and those that are. Eternal life is not earned in this life. It is God’s gift, God’s grace. God is the “great equalizer.”
In her hospice work, Debbie has provided care for the “down and out” and the “up and out.” Those who had very little and those who were people of means and status in the community. She has observed that “death is the great equalizer.” When the end comes the process is the same regardless of the money you have and the achievements that have come to you in this life.
Jesus’ response to His disciples is an interesting one, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 ESV) You can be rich and famous and inherit eternal life if you follow Christ and trust in Him and you can be poor and forgotten and miss eternal life if you believe that your own merits or lot in life make you acceptable to God.
The key is “who or in what do you trust?” more than what have you earned or achieved. In this passage Peter not to miss the opportunity points out to Jesus what they have “sacrificed” for His sake. Instead of a rebuke, Jesus actually provides reassurance and promises the disciples their positions of authority in heaven because of their faithfulness.
Our challenge is not to seek to be “first” in the world, but “first” in God’s kingdom.
Prayer for today…. Lord we give You thanks for the way You challenge our focus and priorities. Help us to live in this world as those who have their eyes on the next.