JANUARY 28 READING…Matthew 20
For those of us that have been followers of Jesus for a long, long time…do you ever feel it is unfair for someone who has only followed the Lord for a short time to receive the same as you do? What about a “death-bed” conversion…do you think they ought to have a lesser place in their salvation and heaven than you do? Does it make you mad or jealous that you have served so long, and so faithfully, and then a “Johnny come lately” gets everything you get? Well if our salvation, and even our service to the Lord, were based on our effort or something that was innately in us apart from the Holy Spirit…then I guess we would be justified with these kinds of feelings. Our salvation, and everything we will receive as an eternal reward is by the work of the Holy Spirit…it is His work, and we undeservingly get to receive the blessings from it. Jesus spoke a parable about a land owner who hired many workers…he was busy hiring them all day long. It did not matter what hour of the day he hired those who would labor for him, he paid them the same. At the end of the day this made those who had worked all day angry to receive the same as those who came later in the day. The land owner set them straight…it’s his field, it’s his money, it’s his decision who and when he would hire someone, and it is his decision what he will pay them. It is the Creator of the universe who decides where, when, and how someone will come to Him…and it’s His Kingdom to give whatever He chooses to whomever He chooses.
Like any mother, the mother of James and John wanted her sons to be successful and have positions of prominence. She went to Jesus, with her sons, and ask that her sons might have the seats of honor when Jesus came into His kingdom. Jesus told these two that they had no idea the gravity of what they were asking. He asked them if they were able to face what He was about to face, and go through what He was about to go through. The quickly answer yes in their ignorance and ambition. Jesus told them that they would indeed have to face some of what He would face…but the decision of who sits by Him, in the places of honor in His kingdom, is predetermined by His Father. The other Apostles were indignant that James and John would ask such a thing…and Jesus took the opportunity to set all twelve of them straight. His kingdom does not work like the world. Greatness in the Lord’s kingdom is seen in serving others…it is seen in the attitude of a slave with total humility. For Jesus reminded them, and us, that even He did not come to be served…but to serve, and ultimately give His very life as the payment for our sins. We cannot expect to have a place in the kingdom of God if we do not have the heart of Jesus…and if we do not serve others in humility, with a willingness to give up our life.
Please share your thoughts from today’s reading.
MONDAY'S READING…Matthew 21