In his parable about the landowner who gave the 1-hour workers the same full day’s wage as the 12-hour workers, Jesus concluded with a somewhat famous statement.
“So the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16).
If you’re first, this isn’t very encouraging. But who is always first? Only those who think they should be.
So get real, here, okay? Just allow yourself to be last. It happens.
Maybe you look like you’re last. You’re busy and beat up. Stressed out. Barely surviving and people can see through the fake smile and nice hair. You’re not in front of the race but really dragging behind.
Maybe you feel like you’re last. You look at all the talent around you and just don’t think you can step up. You’re easily intimidated. You shrink back too often. You’re not as confident as you should be. You’re not the achiever or leader you’d like to be.
Maybe you have been told from little on that you’re last. You don’t have what it takes. You have a disability. You’re not as good as your brother or gorgeous as your sister.
And then some of us are actually last. Your name is on the bottom of the team quarterly sales report. Your medical test says positive and your entire future feels like a black hole. You’re last to be picked, or last to be thought of.
But God doesn’t know it. God’s mercy doesn’t know last.
In God’s mercy you are only first. Because Jesus became last for you and took the last and worst of your mistakes, the last batch of your guilt, the last bit of your worry and fear, and the last ounce of your suffering for any sins.
God’s mercy says there is no last place and no second place, only first place. In God’s heart you are first place.
Listen carefully now. In your heart and your life, God doesn’t want to be fourth or second or last place. He wants to be first. Put him there. Keep him there.
PRAYER: Dear God, your mercy knows me only in first place. And in my heart and life you want to be first place, too. I love you, Lord, and pray that I prioritize you today and always. I love you making me first, and I am making you first, too. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Memorize this verse, and ask God for an opportunity to use it today. “So the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16).