Getting God Wrong
why some are first who will be last
This weekend's Gospel passage is one of the most harrowing in all of Scripture. In response to the question, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" Jesus eventually offers:
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out... For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.
I'll explore it in a little more depth this weekend, but let me draw out the main point of application for us.
So much of life seems to be jockeying for position. That must be the sense with which Jesus heard the question about how many will be saved. But God's Kingdom - God's loving, healing, and saving rule - doesn't work like that.
Friendship with God, membership in the Body of Christ, etc. is pure gift. We did nothing to merit God's love; it is ours, simply, to be transformed by it. So when we start to see ourselves as "better than him/her" or "more deserving of this/that than him/her," it is clear that we're getting God and his purposes wrong.
We might look first (or even "blessed") to ourselves and all the world besides, but if our lives aren't bringing God's blessing to others we're dead last. And if we look like we're coming in last because we live to love and serve the stragglers, then I'd have to say we're winning.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
δοῦλος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ