Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.” Matthew 20:15-16
I do not know how the last judgment will pull together, as The Lamb of God is revealed to all the nations of the earth, but I suspect that, “Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”
And I realize that yes indeed there is the lake of hellfire where death and hell and the false prophet and the beast are cast, but I also know He who holds the keys, He who will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces. Will He forget the child that He suckled at His breast?
Dawdling Everette on my knee puts fresh umph into that verse. And I know that people that I love and admire disagree with me about when the evening comes, but this is where the Spirit, well maybe the Spirit of google led me today, because on the right side of the margin, across from a Tortured for Christ quote, biblehub.com lists these verses:
All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. Psalm 86:9
It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” Isaiah 2:2-4
Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” Revelation 15:4
And we looked into the eyes of those nations yesterday, as the students spoke up for the destitute, the enslaved, the abused, the imprisoned, the unknown tribe in Paraguay where a New Tribes missionary couple dedicated fifteen years of their lives translating the Old Testament for a people group of about 100. And their tears reflected in our eyes as God’s great love for these His children made its tangible presence in the trailer classroom on Speedway, just south of the landfill. That He gave His only begotten Son, who came not into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. The Son who announced that when He would be lifted up He would draw all men unto Himself. That old familiar science teacher If/Then Hypothesis.
And once again the powers of google.com invades my quiet space of meditation, and floating off to the side of this Scripture is a quote by Richard Wurmbrand, the guy who wrote Tortured for Christ, a book that gripped the third-grade Christy and who read it over and over, as it pretty much formed the foundation for her understanding of what it means to follow Christ: “God will judge us not according to how much we endured, but how much we could love.” I didn’t really remember this part, what I remembered was the pain, “but that’s ok” bits.
But really laboring in the vineyards, even in the heat of the day, is not intended as a hideous torturous thing with only the almost mirage-like reward of distant crowns and golden streets shimmering in some abstract future to keep us on the straight and narrow.
And actually, laboring in the vineyards, in the ministry of reconciliation, as His plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth, is a joy and a delight.
Ask my family, I made them shut up and listen, over and over again last night, as I read aloud the final exam essays from my ninth grade English and Environmental Science students, as I smiled and laughed and wrote “Excellent thinking!!!” with lots of underscores in the margins.
And even though yesterday I was having technology issues out the gazzoo and for some reason the IT lady had changed the wireless system yet one more time so my Mac was offline and the PC was simply not running the PowerPoint projects on the projector dangling from the ceiling even though Mrs. Roddy who is amazing came in several times to try to figure it out and for some reason some there was a lady observing my class who I have no idea who she was and there was one of my long time ago seventh grade students who is now teaching middle school English observing and none of the presentations were exactly perfectly ready even though all the kids had stayed up all night putting them together and were shouting “Us first, us first,” that lady, whoever she was, said that she had never seen such an engaged class ever in all of her years of teaching, and not a flicker of an eyeball went off-task in the entire hour and a half.
And there is not a single one of those kiddos who will say, “Man, that was easy” as they wrote and rewrote and rewrote and rewrote their literary analysis or redid the hanging indent for the Works Cited or called for an interview and then got called back and then had to call another number and then yet another number, but the fruit is sweet.
And even more sweet is the fellowship, in the shade of the evening, as I walk with My Creator and LORD, and Abba Father, and I am His delight, and my name is written on the palms of His hands.