“Just as salvation is a gift of God, so a life of blessings is a gift from God.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 3, 2022
The last shall be first and the first last. Matthew 20:13
Human nature bends toward meritocracy (to deserve; to earn by service), but God brings believers to Himself by grace. And, grace is His method of reward. Jesus illustrates grace-based living with the parable of the vineyard. As the story unfolds, workers throughout the day are hired by the landowner and given responsibilities to labor in his vineyard. Each worker gratefully agrees on his wage and goes to work. But at the end of the day, when wages were paid, the ones hired last are paid the same as the ones hired first. Grumbling ensued, as the ones hired first expected to be compensated more than the ones hired last… a demanding, ungrateful spirit.
Jesus goes on to explain that there is an agreement, gratitude and contentment at the beginning of the relationship of the worker with the landowner (a picture of God and His beloved child). But when the generous grace of the Lord indiscriminately blesses another beyond what seems fair or right… resentment builds…motives are exposed. Just as salvation is a gift of God, so a life of blessings is a gift from God. Jesus Christ rewards those who serve out of grateful humility, not in demanding pride to be first in His kingdom. There is a labor of love that celebrates God’s favor on the life of others blessed beyond merit. Grace promotes one who is grateful to be last and demotes one who demands to be first. Yes!…Seek first the Kingdom to be first in the Kingdom.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
You may be a mom quietly laboring out of love, rarely recognized, but in God’s eyes you are first in His kingdom. You may be a faithful employee behind the scenes, you or your work rarely mentioned by others. Yet, your heavenly Father sees and smiles at your service and celebrates you first in His kingdom. Jarringly, you may be surprised to discover that your self-promoting successful life on earth is your scant reward. And, furthermore, God the giver of grace, success and favor has assigned you last in His kingdom. C.S. Lewis insightfully quips about earthbound results, “Aim for earth, and one day all you will have gained is earth, but aim for heaven and one day you will have gained heaven and earth.” The grateful move up—the demanding move back.
Seek first God’s kingdom. In silence, love God and be loved by God, so you can love and be loved for God. Spurgeon earnestly explains the work of keeping Jesus top of mind and abiding in your heart, “I think, dear friends, that God will measure our work very much by our thought of Him in it. If we did it all to Him; if we did it all for Him; if He was always on our mind in the doing of it, and we do not think of our friends [approval], nor of our own reputation, God would be more likely to honor us, for He will put those who think much of Him among the first, and others among the last. ‘Them that honor Me’, says the Lord, ‘I will honor.” A demanding spirit fails to submit to the Spirit, but a grateful spirit is ever surrendering to the Spirit’s direction.
Heavenly Father, give me a spirit of gratitude for your blessings, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Consider a gratitude journal and each day write down God’s many blessings.
Psalm 147:7; Jonah 2:9; Romans 16:4; Colossians 3:15
Gateway Worship feat. Zac Rowe: Gratitude-Great Are You Lord
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