I remember sitting at the dinner table as a very young child wondering how much more I would be able to eat because I was sure that my legs were filling up with food and eventually I would run out of space. I reasoned that must be why children grew taller - to make more room to store food. But still even with growth, eventually I would run out of space and then what? I later learned that God had designed an amazing thing in each human called a digestive system and it allowed us to live longer lives because there was no space issue! While it sounds silly to think that our legs are filling up with food, it made a lot of sense to my inexperienced three year old mind. As we experience life and learn new things, our thinking changes. Throughout history, we see that there were certain scientific theories and beliefs that now seem ridiculous. I always warn my own children from mocking the scientists and doctors of so many years ago because there are probably things that we are sure of now that will be shown to be false later. We see similar things in Matthew when Jesus was correcting the spiritual thinking of His day. Jesus certainly had a way of turning things upside down to make us readjust our perspective. Today's reading shows a couple of corrections that Jesus made to show people how God really views the order of things. Please read Matthew 19:13-30.
The first thing we see that is different is the fact that when children were coming to Jesus, the disciples tried to keep them away. But Jesus wanted the children with Him and He even told the disciples that the kingdom of heaven belonged to such as them. That had to cause the disciples to think...and it should cause us to think as well. We tend to honor those who have a lot of knowledge and experience, but in these verses Jesus shows that wasn't what He looked at. He was looking at their innocent faith. When was the last time you would describe your faith as innocent? You see, a child so innocently believes what they are told and God wants us to just believe Him.
The next thing we see Jesus turn upside down was the idea that what the world considers important really holds no value in God's kingdom. In fact, the important things of the world could even hinder our walk with Jesus. Jesus told His disciples that God honored those who actually let go of the things we hold dear in order to follow and obey Him. Our desire to obey Him had to overcome anything else in our life, even if it meant loss. So, what is success in this world isn't necessarily success in God's kingdom and what is success in God's kingdom could look like failure in this world.
In both these examples, we see that Jesus was pointing out to us that we need to let go of our own perspective of who and what is important and consider what is important to God's heart. The first will be last and the last will be first...that is definitely not how we have been taught to think. But that is how God wants us to think. Seek Him first and everything will fall into order.
Do you need a change in perspective?