The Last Being First

And said, ¨These last put in one hour´s work; still you made them equal to us who bore the burden of the day and the burning heat!¨  Matthew 20:12

Jesus lays out for us the concept of the first being last and the last being first.

Read Matthew 20:1-16

We could dispute all day just who are the ones who complain about the work done for the Lord.  We could also weigh the generosity of the Master going to those last few who did not even get a whole hours work in nor had to suffer the heat of the day in the vineyard of our God.

However, what might be far more beneficial to our eternal health is to consider first the Owner of the field.

For the sake of finding some real meat in instruction that may help you and I draw nearer to the heart of the Master of all things, let´s take the worst-case scenario and consider ourselves to be those who were actually out there slaving away the whole day to please our Lord and receive our pay.

It would be natural for us to feel some sort of resentment if there were other lazier people who had not made themselves available for the Lord to put to work earlier.  These last souls probably should not receive the same reward as those of us who sweated and drove ourselves for winning the day´s reward.  Yet, somehow in the mysteriously gracious heart of our God, even these last few who come into the vineyard are offered the same winnings as the rest.

Our first inclination normally is to shift the blame to make it mean that someone else is missing the point.  Jesus´ instruction and warning is going out to others more disillusioned than ourselves.  However, Jesus gently leads even the most deceived amongst us and if we are willing to learn, He will show us His Way!

The first thing we should get straight is what this is all about.  Those poor workers in the parable, got a little off the track.  They started thinking of themselves.  They gave in, to something we too often get mixed up in.  They started looking at what they stood to gain and to what they had done.

Now, whenever we do this, do we really think we have our Master´s intentions in mind?  To consider how much we deserve or just where we are profiting, don´t you think we have to take our eyes off of Him and turn them towards self?

It is sad to think that we who have labored hard during all the difficulties of life, finally reaching the end of our struggles only to think of what we stand to gain.  But Jesus has tried to show us where this may happen and that by doing this; we may remove ourselves from our good position and place ourselves last in His kingdom.

Dear Jesus, help your words to sink in deep enough to where we are affected.  We would not wish to suffer any surprises in your heavenly realm.  After all our labors and what we have put our hearts through to be with You, we would not like to spoil that by thinking of personal gain.  We do not want to become the last in Your kingdom but to press closer to You in our eagerness to please You and be with You.  Take complete control of our hearts and guard us against the tendencies of the flesh to turn to selfish thoughts.  Do whatever You like with what belongs to You, just let us partake in Your reward on that day.


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