The last will be first

Sam and I attended a Marriage Group last night with some good friends. It was the first of a series of evening’s and was started by Dean and Kirsty who have been married for two months – they are keen to invest in their marriage and to learn from other couples who are a little further along on the journey. The facilitation was simple. We sat in a circle and answered questions posed by Kirsty, with everyone getting a chance to answer. She alternated who would go first for each question.

On the way home Sam and I were talking about the evening. She commented that if you were sitting to Kirsty’s immediate left or right, you had an equal chance of either being either first to answer, or last to answer the question, depending on the direction of the answer flow. This got me wondering about what Jesus said to his disciples about the Kingdom of God …

In Matthew 20, Jesus told his disciples a parable about a landowner who goes out to hire labour as an illustration of the Kingdom of God. Right at the end of the parable, Jesus throws this in:

So the last will be first, and the first will be last.

This verse is traditionally used to explain how in the Kingdom of God (which is at hand, and present amongst us) equality is a key value. It is also used in the argument against pride and individual ambition when it comes to spiritual development.

As Sam reflected on the group, I wondered if Jesus maybe employed the same facilitation technique with his disciples? That they maybe sat in a circle, Jesus posed questions and then alternated the direction of who would answer first, so that literally, the first would be last and the last person to answer last would be first next time round?

I may be reading too much into the scripture and conjecturing a little about how Jesus ‘facilitated’ his discussions with the disciples, but they probably did sit in a circle at meal times, and Jesus would have displayed the truth about the Kingdom through the way he engaged with his followers.

Use it, don’t use it.

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2 responses to “The last will be first”

  1. Mike says:

    Hi Aiden, I think you may be reading a little deeper…..but what cannot be lost is the engagement and facilitation that must have taken place.

    What I took from this post is that you and Sam must be getting something right, because a young couple have sought you out to impact on their lives. Awesome honour!

  2. aiden says:

    Thanks for the vote of confidence Mike. The group is 8 couples who happen to be pretty good friends as well, which really helps. We’re under no illusion that we have a perfect marriage, and I’m pretty sure the other 7 couples would agree.

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