Sunday, October 11, 2009

First last, last first

"Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age--houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions--and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first." Mark 10:29-31

I always struggle with this Gospel from Mark when it comes around. This quote from Jesus is from the part of the Gospel where Jesus tells the rich young man to give away all he has and follow him. The boy is broken-hearted for the people and things that have given him life he now must put down. His identity is wrapped up in his wealth, or so he thinks. Jesus invites him to let go of the things that keep him from relying on God. When we are poor and broken we will gladly scream for help - from God or anyone else. But how often do we wait to the very last to talk with God about our needs?

We are all rich young men, gifted people all, who need to be reminded in this season, that those who look like the winners and heroes in this world are not the world champions in God's eyes. What ever team you root for to be world champs in baseball, football, basketball or hockey - well none of these winners take precedence with God. The person who is willing to put belongings and pride aside and welcome the least - those are God's chosen, God's beloved. Those of us who would be first must be willing to love and serve the most difficult among us. They are heroes and beloved in God's kingdom - the ones who work in the shadows, the ones who care for the overlooked, the ones who put others first - these are the champs forever.

May this Sunday be a day where we bravely let got of pride and vanity and all other treasures and skills we use to look down on others. May we pick up a broom and sponge and get working for love. For God only asks us to give up a little so we might know love fully. Today I want to try to let go of those barriers and open my heart and hands to God's people.

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