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Turning values upside down

It’s a very British thing to queue politely.  However, our good nature does tend to disappear when someone abuses the system and tries to push in.  It’s unfair!

It’s also frustrating when you pick the shortest queue at the supermarket, but others who joined theirs later are first to the checkout.   Why do I always pick the wrong one?

Jesus said, ‘But many who are first will be last, and the last first.’ (Mark 10:31)

Once again, He turns the world’s values upside down. He taught His friends that the divine pecking order is different.  On the surface the rich, successful, and high ranking lead the queue for most things. Yet they won’t hold the same weight when it comes to entering God’s kingdom, where wealth and status count for nothing.

It’s interesting where Mark places these words and the story of the Rich Young Man.  Beforehand in Mark’s Gospel, we read how Jesus blessed the children (10:13-16), declaring that, ‘the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’ Then, soon after, we have the story of go-getting James and John, who ask to sit at Jesus’ right and His left when He comes into His glory (10:35-45).

Maybe today, we should note the contrast between vulnerable child-like humility and misguided adult ambition.  For here, Jesus gives the way to eternal life. His ambition is love and holiness.  He gave up everything for you upon the Cross and wants you to respond by way of sacrificial living – lest you find you aren’t where you thought you were in terms of His kingdom!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me simply to trust you, and live simply, that I may receive your great promises.  Amen.

Copyright Rev. Anthony D. Miles July 2006

Tony is a Superintendent Methodist Minister, broadcaster and author. He is a radio presenter with Premier Christian Radio and a regular contributor to BBC Radio 2's Pause for Thought (5.45 am). Tony is married with two children and four grandchildren.

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