When it comes to prestigious jobs, we typically think of people who are highly paid or have undergone a lot of education or training, such as health professionals, judges, teachers, police officers and those in leadership positions.
In a matter of weeks, the global pandemic threw some of those preconceptions out the window. I saw one news story of an unemployed pilot who was looking for work as a fruit picker. Some business owners had no option but to sack staff and close the doors on their dreams.
In contrast, our checkout operators, shelf stackers, factory workers, delivery people and cleaners were working overtime, trying to keep the rest of us supplied with the necessities of life. They were serving on the front lines, just as much as those who earned ten times their salaries.
Prestige was important to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. They expected the best seats at banquets and in the synagogue (Matt. 23:6). Money brought with it many advantages in life, but none of that mattered to Jesus.
After His encounter with the rich young man (see last week’s post), Jesus told his disciples that it would be ‘easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God’ (v. 25).
They were flabbergasted. They’d left everything to follow Jesus and would have been among the ‘last’ in the eyes of the religious establishment. Yet Jesus didn’t judge by the same standards as the world. He looked at people’s hearts, declaring that ‘many who are first will be last, and the last first’ (v. 31).
The disciples had something the elite didn’t have—a relationship with Jesus and the promise of a heavenly reward. Let’s align our hearts with Christ and seek the treasure that lasts forever.
Dear Lord, please forgive me for the times I have judged others according to their occupations, wealth or prestige. Help me to see people as you see them, each one a loved and valued member of your creation. Amen.
Q1 Do you find it challenging or comforting that ‘many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first’?
Q2 Is there someone serving in your community whom you could thank this week?