The Great Reversal

But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. Matthew 19:30

One of the things that annoys me on trash day is the sound of trash pickers. My windows are generally open in the early morning hours. At dawn, twice a week, the people who make a living by picking through curbside garbage bags are on the make. Crunching aluminum cans, popping plastic bottles, and sorting through litter, they often disturb my early morning hours.

The above passage is the conclusion of Jesus' remarks to the rich young ruler. Jesus challenged him to give up all of his wealth and give it to the poor. Of course, he did not. And Jesus made that statement in the caption. So how do I know who has greater rank in God's eyes? A well-educated and relatively prosperous American lady doing "good works" in Honduras, or a humble trash picker working in the early hours of the day in order to feed himself and his family?

People who work in church circles can easily assume that they are the special ones, God's inner circle. In reality, God is out in the marketplace, looking for people everybody else tried to ignore, welcoming them on the same terms, surprising them (and everybody else) with his generous grace. The earliest church needed to learn that lesson. Is there anywhere in today' s church that doesn't need to be reminded of it as well? Tom Wright, Matthew for Everyone.

I commented yesterday to a fellow blogger that we live in the now, and the not yet. We see outbreakings of His Kingdom rule and justice, but in reality there is still much in this world that reeks of injustice and poverty. And we need to be mindful that it's not easy to see what's important if we don't use Kingdom values as our viewpoint.

When God's kingdom comes in fullness, there will be a great reversal.


Single and Sane said...

We have a hard time even grasping Kingdom values, much less using them as our viewpoint. Thanks for the reminder - and the challenge.


Bob Mrotek said...

Somebody once told me that when we all get to Heaven (and what a day of rejoicing it will be) we will see sitting near the right hand of God the most righteous person in God's eyes and it will be somebody whom no one recognizes because he spent his whole life in obscurity doing something for the sake of others anonymously. I can tell you one thing for certain. It certainly won't be me :)

Leah Flinn said...

Agree w/Single & Sane. It's a struggle to even grasp Kingdom values let alone live them. Just understanding spirituality seems it will be a lifelong struggle for me.

Laurie said...

Bob, I recall a story about a fallen tele-evangelist from the Deep South, who supposedly told a few other well=known Christian leaders that his sin causes God more sadness than any other person. That reeks more than the garbage on the street, doesn't it? I am in agreement with you, that many who will be chosen as first will be not at all what we would choose.

Anonymous said...

Congradulations Laurie, you just wrecked my day. It's the simple messages that tend to hit home the hardest. I do a lot of little things to help out down here and quite often I feel really good about it. So then I have to ask myself, am I doing them to make a difference, or because I like to feel good about myself.

But I have to tell you, I get a little rankled by those humble trash pickers for the mess they leave. I don't think it's ignorance that causes them to rip open bags of trash and and scatter the garbage on the sidewalks. Not so sure God is going to judge them all so kindly. Not sure if God is going to judge several of the Missionaries I've encountered so well either.

So I guess I go back to square one and do the things I feel comfortable doing. I really do believe that God's judgement is a reflection on how I judge myself and I don't think he is going to be so open to my opinions on others.

Ozark Mountain Woman said...

Thank You.

Amanda said...

This is always a good reminder. I recently showed my girls (well the 4 yr old really) a movie called Children of Heaven. Its about a little girl who has only one pair of shoes that gets lost by her brother. But in the end her father ends up going door to door to be a gardner and try to make enough money for his family. Only a few days before I watched the movie I was complaining about all the guys who stop by to ask if they can cut our grass. To be honest we are living on pesos here to and a lot of people the otherwise because I am Americans but after watching that movie I at least see why they keep trying.

Anita said...

That's a scripture that I am reminded of here and there when reflecting upon the inequalities in our world. I hadn't thought of the annoyances of specific oppressed people (like garbage pickers); more so, groups of people - nations, cultures, etc.

Judging others; I try not to, but I'm guilty too.

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