First and Last

         Matthew now tells two stories about “many who are first will be last and many who are last will be first. (Matthew 19:30)”

         When Jesus tells the rich young man, who thinks he has followed the law and who asks what more he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus tells the man he must sell his property, give it to the poor and follow Jesus.  The man leaves sad for he was wealthy but the disciples are flabbergasted.  Jesus tells the disciples that it is very difficult for the rich to enter heaven.  Wealth was seen as a gift from God and so the disciples respond, “Who then can be saved?”

         Somehow we think the rich, the talented, and the powerful are the blessed people must rate higher in God’s eyes than us.  And for sure few of us would consider ourselves rich.  We need just one more dollar.  Affirmation is always welcome.  Jesus seems to flip the coin and challenges our perceptions.  He confronts the disciples and us with the reality that the kingdom of heaven works differently than this world.  We will be surprised by who is first and who is last if we evaluate people by their worldly assets.

         Lent is a time when we ask ourselves how much we have bought into the world’s values and way of thinking.  Do we evaluate people by the shine of their car, the glitter of their clothes, or the number of professional letters behind their names?  Let us take a few minutes today to write down the name of just one of our favorite people and then list five characteristics that person has that we appreciate.  Thank God for that person and pray a spiritual blessing for the person.

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