Today’s reflection on Matthew 19 by our Assistant Program Director, Angie Smith.
This chapter yet again warns Jesus’ disciples of what happens when they stray from the path. It ends with a dire warning, “But many who are first will be last, and the last will be the first.” We’ll hear this again in Matthew for tomorrow’s reading, Jesus is really driving home the point that we need to be on our guard.
The warning is comforting if you are the last. But what if you’re first-the idea of being last isn’t so comforting. And that’s the point. Often, we come across people, especially now with social media, that believe God is like a genie and they have unlimited wishes. They get what they want if they have enough faith. However, we know that that isn’t how God works in creation.
Yes, faith should comfort, but it should also challenge. What does it mean to be last? Am I really in trouble if I’m rich? Do I really have to give things up to follow Jesus? If this text makes you feel good, chances are you’re lying to yourself. Be honest- this isn’t a comforting read. C.S. Lewis said it perfectly, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
What we’ve seen and will continue to see throughout Matthew is the idea that faith isn’t about us. The church doesn’t exist to serve us. Faith calls us to humble ourselves as children, to put aside our selfish desires, to be the last, to pick up our cross, and say “Lord, it is good for us to be here.”