Déjà vu (Already Seen)
In Matthew 19:30, Jesus says “many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” Here I see Jesus teaching on being a servant. Right before this verse he tells of the rich young ruler living a “perfect life” but not willing to give all he possesses to follow Him. He follows it up with “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 19:24.
Our example: Jesus, the ultimate servant. He had no need and offered the greatest sacrifice.
In Matthew 20:16, the same verse appears in a slightly different way, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Here He is referring to reward, eternal reward. It is the last verse in the parable of the workers in the vineyard. In this parable the ones that labored all day received the same wages as those that showed up in “the eleventh hour”. The “early morning workers” are not very happy and felt cheated. But Jesus replies “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” Matthew 20:15
Our example: Abraham (walked with God his entire life) receives the same eternal life as the thief on the cross (gave his life to God right before he died).
Often times when I tell the story of how God restored our marriage then took James home a year later, I get mixed comments. Most are excited, in awe of the glory of God. Others, however, feel a bit angry. They express it this way, “Aren’t you mad at God for putting you through all of that and then only giving you one good year with James?” They sound like the “early morning workers”. It doesn’t measure up in their “paycheck.” The truth is “The Lord gives and takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.” Job 1:21. James gave Jesus his life, and so have I. Jesus has the right to do with these lives whatever He chooses. I believe God was generous to me just as He was with those “eleventh hour workers.” God gave me a beautiful year with James. He waited to take James when I could be sure he belonged to God and have the assurance of seeing him again. That is a gracious God!