Matthew 20

First and last

“So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” (v. 16)

Isn’t it amazing how backwards our way of thinking is compared to our Lord’s? We strive to be first; we seek the best, and all the time it is the last place that we need, and the leftovers instead of the “cream.” It is mind-boggling to think of the strife, and contentions that we cause because we want to be “top dog” or “king of the hill” when, if we will quietly and patiently serve God, He will exalt us in due time. This is the second time the Lord teaches us this principle, as if He wished to emphasize it in a big way. The last verse in chapter 19 also says that the last shall be first, and the first, last. (19:30). Oh how our own pride seeks to debase us as we hope to exalt ourselves!

In our text verse though (and I hope you have read the entire chapter) The Lord adds another special thought, “for many be called, but few chosen.” Look with me at the implications of this verse: There is a step higher than a “calling.” It is very hard to define the call of God in Scripture, and many times, in our lives, but even more important than the calling is the choosing of God. The called are a special lot, but the chosen even more so. There are multitudes from which God had chosen His “peculiar” people, and out of the multitudes came the “elect”; then from the elect, God called some, (many); and from that group, the few, the “chosen.” Do you see the pattern here? I know I covered this in a previous devotion, but I find that doctrines repeat themselves all the way through the Bible, and after all, repetition is the best teacher, according to Dr. Hyles.

Now, how do we reconcile the two thoughts here? Simply by seeking to serve the Lord, wholeheartedly, and not the “office” or the “calling”; God will choose those He will have to serve Him, but He has given us a few guidelines to help us walk among the chosen. Just concentrate on getting close to Him and let Him do the “choosing.” Just humbly seek Him, and watch Him exalt you, and give you first place among men and women.

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