I’m pretty sure that there will be a scene in heaven that goes something like this…
The great crowd of saints are gathered together, rejoicing, singing, laughing, marveling, delighting. All of us are absolutely astonished. Astonished that we’re in heaven, astonished that Jesus would reward us, astonished that God would save wretches like us.
An electric hush falls over the crowd as Jesus tells us that it’s time for the reward ceremony to begin. Everyone is wondering the same thing: who will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Will it be a mega-church pastor? Will it be a Christian who had a worldwide radio and book ministry? Will it be the worship leader who led the singing at all the big conferences? Who’s it going to be?
Jesus stands up and announces that the first person to be rewarded is…a man that nobody knows.
A highlight reel of his life begins to play. We see him helping a blind man pay his bills, teaching Bible stories to children in Sunday school, helping an elderly gentleman paint his house, reaching out to the guy that didn’t have any friends, faithfully reading his Bible and praying.
But wait, where’s his big ministry? He didn’t speak at any conferences or run a big-time blog. Oh wait a second. Now things are starting to make sense. It turns out that things are backwards in heaven, and the things that mattered most on earth don’t matter so much in heaven.
But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Matt. 19:30)