Matthew: Day 18

Jesus Came to Serve

by

Today's Text: Matthew 19:1-30, Matthew 20:1-34, Deuteronomy 6:4, 2 Peter 3:10-13

Scripture Reading: Matthew 19:1-30, Matthew 20:1-34, Deuteronomy 6:4, 2 Peter 3:10-13

I am very hopeful that my one-day husband’s last name will begin with a letter in the first half of the alphabet. You see, while I love my last name with my whole heart, it begins with a “W,” which means the line for almost anything ends with me.

During college graduation, I imagine that my friends whose last names fall at the beginning of the alphabet —Austin, Brock, and Chapman—were all halfway through their family celebration dinners before it was my turn to walk across the stage. I have very big ideas about what it would mean to be first in line.

Getting ahead is the name of the human game. We want nothing more than to be picked first for the kickball team, secure the best seats at the movie theater, win the affection of our coworkers, achieve financial success, and ensure our security and worth at every turn.

So in Matthew 19, when Jesus says, “Many who are first will be last, and the last first” (v. 30), it may be our first instinct to picture a world where the underdog wins the game of getting ahead—the least athletic kid gets picked first for kickball, and those without savings accounts win the lottery. This is the illustration Jesus gives us, but its main purpose is to point to something even greater: His own measure of success.

God’s goal isn’t helping us to get ahead—it’s helping us get to Him. His redemption does not work within the constraints of the world’s standards, but within the bounds of eternity.

In the parable of the vineyard workers in Matthew 20, the workers hired at the beginning of the day are angry by the end of it. They are complaining because the other workers—hired hands just as they were—had done nothing, yet had been made equal to them. None of the workers were underpaid or overworked. Some of them had just experienced “undeserved” kindness, leaving others to feel less superior.

At least, that’s how it looks from our perspective. But these aren’t just rules and concepts Jesus wants us to unlearn from the ways of the world. Christ is showing us that His kingdom is wholly better. In it, we will be fully loved by Him, forever united. This is the message that all of Jesus’ teachings in these passages point to: unity over divorce, children inheriting the kingdom, poor over rich, last before first. Jesus came to serve the undeserving with kindness; this is the heart of God’s economy.

As Tim Keller says, “The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared to believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”

Knowing all our earthly measures are off, let us look to Him, for we are worse and He is better than we could ever guess. May our deepest goal and desire be to find ourselves not first or last, but close to Him. Amen.

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  • Kendall

    I went from a “T” to a “C”, it’s pretty amazing! My kids don’t know how lucky they are!
    Something clicked for me today-when the man asked what he could be do to be saved. I always heard that story and came away feeling hopeless, and I suppose that’s the point. WE CAN’T DO ANYTHING. We can’t keep all the commandments. We can’t be perfect. We are utterly and hopelessly flawed. But with God all thing are possible. Jesus is the perfect one. Jesus is the one who can and who DID do something so we can be saved. We can’t; he can. That’s the whole point.

  • Lindsey Bailey

    ‘The heavenly bodies will be burned up. The earth and it works will be exposed…’ All the stuff that we put so much emphasis on now. It will all be gone. It’s fading fast even now. But, it is what we can see, so we hold on. We give it more attention than we should. Sometimes we even make an idle out of something that will be nothing one day. But, what our hearts can’t see. The things of eternal value, those will transcend and last. Lord, set our hearts and eyes on the eternal. I am blind. Open my eyes.

  • My desire is to be close to him. Closer to him each day.

  • Lindsey Bailey

    Hey Kristen!

  • Marian Jones

    Thank you God! This study fills me with joy.

  • Julie Waldvogel

    I have the same desire, to have a husband with a name in the first half of the alphabet, but then again..only what Gods will is for me. How wonderful it is to serve others for Christ!

  • This community is beautiful and insightful. Thank you SRT for this community of women in the Word every day. You ladies are a blessing to those who know you, and even those don’t. Your words are life giving. Jesus sees what is being cultivated in the unseen, thank you.
    “Jesus came to serve the undeserving with kindness, this is the heart of God’s economy.”

  • Amanda Rathbone

    All too often in my business and in life general, I catch myself constantly comparing “me” to others. All the time. Whether it be their success, their looks, their materials, or just their life as a whole…..why do I do this ???? Why do we let comparisons be the thief of complete Joy???? I needed this today as a true reminder!!! For we are wealthy in the pure Love Jesus gives to us !!!! Thank you ladies for always sharing !!!

  • Jessica Terpstra

    Amen!

  • Kelsey Baker

    Lily, the verses are slightly different depending on the translation you’re reading. I think SRT usually refers to the HCSB but you can change your default translation within the app to see how other translations interpret the verse. Some like the KJV include the phrases you mentioned while others do not. Hope that’s helpful!

  • Jo Gistand

    This passage reminds me that rich or poor, first or last, good person or bad person, GOD judges the heart. And in equalizing the workers, he reminds us that all fall short and need him in the SAME way. Ahh. How good. Nothing I do can ever earn his love, yet nothing I do can separate me from his love.

  • Sandi Mele

    Love this! “May our deepest goal and desire be not to find ourselves first or last, but close to Him.” The entire teaching today reminds me of a verse from 1 Cor. I shared on my IG yesterday! “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.” What a comfort I don’t have to be the best. ❤️

  • Diane Huntsman

    “For we are worse and He is better than we could ever think” I love that His better covers all my worse and that in Him i live and breath and have my being.. because of Him there is so much blessed hope in the face of so much hopelessness!!

  • Finances! Clothes! Appearance! Self sufficiency! Independence from others! Lord, remove my pride and help me to see where Satan has a strong ahold of me. Draw me to you. Help me to seek after you above and beyond what i seek after for personal gain. Shape my world to dwell on you, not on financial independence. You turned everything upside down with what you preached. Help me to live in that truth and find peace with insecurities that plague me

    • Pam

      Amen. I prayed this same thing today before I I read this Scripture.

    • Elle

      Amen!! I had to pray along with you in agreement seeing your post, Megan. I can identify with you and was just thinking on some of these same things. My prayer is to be okay with where I am and to remember that God is orchestrating everything for my good. God is able to do what I cannot, but He can also use where I’m at for His glory. Not a single stone is left unused in God’s building of who He is shaping me to be; His will, plan and purpose is sure to be fulfilled. The workers chosen last most likely weren’t expecting full payment for an hour of work, I’m sure they were just grateful to be hired receiving in the end with grateful hearts whatever was given. Give me a heart like that, O Lord! God bless.

    • Rhonda

      amen

    • Paige

      Amen!

  • I too, like most of you really like what Kaitlyn said, “God’s isn’t helping us to get ahead – it’s helping us to get to HIM. Thank you Kaitlyn for a great devotional this morning as I had to get even earlier start this morning.

  • Cathylynn

    Yesterday’s posts got me thinking. I am also in the midst of a marital crisis… my husband and I have been separated now for 8 months. Would any of you ladies be interested in a support group of sorts? Email me at [email protected] if you are.

  • Shannon Hansen

    “God’s goal isn’t helping us get ahead—it’s helping us get to Him.” SO GOOD. What a good perspective.

  • Kristine Loughman

    Quick technical question: ever since my app updated I can only see 4-5 comments max. I miss being able to read through everyone’s thoughts! Is it just me? Is there a fix?

    • It’s not just you. I have emailed SRT. All the comments are included at SheReadsTruth.com, so I go there for comments, inconvenient though.

    • Diane Newcomer

      I can’t see mire either.

    • Martha Hix

      Me too. I miss their thoughts and insights.

    • Linda Garrison

      You’re not alone. I’m missing seeing comments from the “old regulars” many of who had screen names. Now we have to manually change our first/last name to a screen name. Plus I’m not thinking this app version is quite as intuitive as the last. Just some feedback SRT.

    • Kathy Sellers

      Yes, missing all the comments. Missing the comments being in chronological order after the app update too.

    • Claire Brock

      I went to my settings section and wrote feedback re: this issue. No answer yet. You can go to shereadstruth.com and see all the comments which kind of makes me wonder why I am using the app.

    • Martha Hix

      I agree Claire

    • Kate Mills

      I am also frustrated. I will most likely not purchase the next plan within the app because I enjoy reading the comments and they are not appearing.

    • Amber Barkefelt

      I am now a week behind in my devotional because I just can’t get into this new updated version. I messaged SRT a month ago about these same issues and never got a response. Like Kathy said, I don’t like how the comments are not in chronological order. I used to feel like I was reading a conversation between women; now I feel like the comment section doesn’t have a nice flow to it because I have to keep scrolling up and down to read the replies to the comments. I hope everything gets fixed by the time we start the next devotional.

  • Kelly Chataine

    The focus of today’s devotion is not lost on me. So thankful God has made the way for me, for all. However, there is so much in today’s scripture readings. Jesus dealt with people so well. He was always truthful, always obedient and always loving. That is my prayer. . . . to be truthful, obedient and loving.

  • Tochi Heredia

    I can feel entitled to God’s help. Here I am at the beginning of my career, thinking about what would it look like to “make it” as an author/illustrator. Should I settle for less than prestigious jobs? Or do I wait for that amazing position that will help launch my future?
    But sitting here, after living in London for two and a half months and being unemployed for one, I realized I was looking at it all wrong. I’m not entitled to anything, everything God gave and will give me are all because of His mercy, not because there’s something special or remarkable about me or my abilities.

    Lord, open my eyes to see the opportunities you give me to die to myself. I want to count everything as rubbish, compared to the abundant life of submission you have for me. I want to put myself last, and you first. Provide for me and help me be content.

  • PursuedByHim

    “Knowing all our earthly measures are off, let us look to Him, for we are worse and He is better than we could ever guess. May our deepest goal and desire be to find ourselves not first or last, but close to Him.”

    “May our deepest goal and desire be to find ourselves not first or last, but close to Him!” Amen! Amen! Amen!

  • Marcia Brandt

    “God’s goal isn’t helping us to get ahead—it’s helping us get to Him. ” Love these words…

  • Clarence R.

    Thank You ABBA, Father for The Spirit of Understanding through Your Word and this devotional. Thank You my Lord.

  • Amy Pullinger

    “May we find ourselves not first or last, but close to Him”

  • Churchmouse

    Yes Lord, open my eyes. Let me ever look forward to that day of the “renewal of all things.” We have so corrupted ourselves and this world by yielding to our sin nature. Yet You have promised “new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” It is hard to fathom, hard to imagine. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I so look forward to that day when imagining and possibility becomes reality in His presence forever. Oh glorious day!

  • Natalie Mann

    While I’m here, just quick question for the SRT staff/app programmers :) — I’m really missing the capability to take notes and highlight within the SRT app. I may be missing something or doing something wrong? Any suggestions? Thanks so much!

  • Natalie Mann

    Wonderful reminder today – I’m more sinful than I could ever imagine and at the same time more loved and accepted than I could ever imagine! Praise the Lord for Jesus!! Our Savior!!

  • Natalie Mann

    Wonderful reminder today – I’m more sinful than I ever imagined and at the same time more loved and

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