I remember a younger me using the phrase, “The last shall be first,” when trying to skip a line to the water fountain or when getting revenge on a friend who is was usually better than me at something.
But now that I’m more grown (and hopefully more mature), I’ve been looking at this phrase a bit differently.
I’ve turned on my TV, walked across the city streets, and simply looked in the mirror and seen the “least of these” – the poor, the undocumented, the minorities, the terminally ill, the differently-abled, etc. – treated like aliens rather than people.
That’s when “The last shall be first” moves from a vice to beat others at something and requires deeper understanding for the sake of others. What does this phrase mean? I want to know what the reward will be for people who are in extremely unfavorable yet uncontrollable situations on this earth will be? Or if they even have one?
Here’s what I found: ” [God] chose the world’s DOWN-AND-OUT as the kingdom’s FIRST citizens, with FULL rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to ANYONE who loves God. And here you are abusing these same citizens!” (James 2:5-6 MSG)
James 2 is telling us that the very people who we may deem to be in last place, are actually #winning in the kingdom with a first-class, all-inclusive package deal.
We should have a heart for the “last.” God most definitely does. But sadly, it’s usually people who call themselves “Christians” who don’t listen to what His heart is saying. Instead, we listen to the voices of politics, money, and media and end up abusing VIP kingdom citizens and showing favoritism to the world’s VIP, like the aforementioned scripture stated. We’ve got it all twisted.
We all need to be “God-on-earth” to the down-and-out. To the people who feel like they’re in last place. The people without hope and sense of worth. A good person does good things for good people. These are good people and we need to show them love. And for Christians, if you call yourself a “Christian” without taking action for what and who Christ stands for, then you have some things to reevaluate ASAP. Loving God includes loving each other, and not because we want to be first in some competition, but rather because it’s our greatest command and honor to show love to those around us.
The “last” should know that “the first shall be last” and “the last shall be first” are not hollow statements. Instead, they should have hope. Real hope. So let’s be hope-givers.
ANYONE can be a part of God’s kingdom if they really want to, especially those who have lost hope in this world and have been deemed worthless. Thankfully, they’re coming out on top. Be encouraged.