Many who are first will be last; and the last, first.
Imagine you have been employed by the XYZ company for twenty-four years. It was your first job out of college, and it has been your only job ever since. Over those years, you have received some periodic wage increases. You do not have an exorbitant salary, but it is a comfortable salary, and you are content with your situation in life.
Your company recently hired another employee named Bill, and Bill has been working for the same company in the same position as you for just a month. One Friday afternoon, you go down to your mail slot to pick up your check, and to your surprise, you find that the paymaster accidentally put Bill’s check in your envelope. As you look at the check, you are astounded to see that he is making twice the amount of money that you are making, even though he has the same job and has only been working at the company for one month.
What would be your response? Would you storm into your boss’s office on Monday morning and give him a piece of your mind?
Would you say to yourself, “Well, that is just the way it is. I am lucky to have a job”?
Or would you secretly resent both Bill and your boss?
That is exactly the situation Jesus described in the parable we are going to look at this week. Jesus introduced His parable with this famous statement that is oft repeated but seldom understood: “Many who are first will be last; and the last, first” (Matthew 19:30). To drive home His point, He even said it again at the end of the parable: “The last shall be first, and the first last” (20:16).
We hear that phrase all the time, but very few people understand what Jesus was trying to say. Well, He explained it in chapter 20 using the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. Far from trying to teach us about labor relations, this parable teaches us a very important principle about how God rewards His children: God’s standard for rewards is different than our standards.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Lesson In Workman’s Compensation” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org