“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Jesus summary of the meaning of the parable is a bold and radical statement, designed to shock his hearers. They might have expected him to say the opposite – something like, ‘life is about the survival of the fittest, the best deserve to win, the hardest workers deserve more pay than the ones who never worked, or who only worked for one hour in a day’. But no, he doesn’t say that.
Instead he outlines yet again that the kingdom of his father is not like the kingdoms of this world. The kingdom of God isn’t like the kingdoms of our world, which are so often marked by competition, self defence, scare mongering, trying to show strength instead of weakness, power instead of gentleness. Just think of Donald Trump’s words yesterday, threatening to wipe out another nation, and connecting his words with God, or at least, the idea he calls God.
The last will be first, and the first will be last is a description of grace, undeserved favour. It’s the good news Jesus was sent with and which he lived and died for. His Spirit is making this kingdom grow. And this kingdom will outlast all other kingdoms. God’s kingdom will reign forever.
So it doesn’t matter at what stage we’ve began to work for the Master. It doesn’t matter how late we come to faith in this God of the kingdom of the last being the first. It doesn’t matter how hard we’ve worked if we haven’t yet grasped the idea that God wants everyone to be hired into his kingdom. It’s never too late for a person to turn around and begin again. It’s always time to turn to our God who welcome us all with open arms and says ‘well done my precious daughter, my precious son. Come and enjoy my kingdom which has been prepared for you and which lasts forever’.
Until that day come in its fullness, we can know that God has given us Jesus his Son as our Bread of Life. He feeds us exactly what we need on a daily basis.
Thanks be to God.
Let us pray,
God, our Daily Bread of Life
May we feed on you always
And daily increase in your Holy Spirit
Until we come to your everlasting kingdom
Through Jesus Christ we pray.