Summary: Leadership in the Kingdom of God is about service and humility. It is about working at a level where you are equal or even below everybody else.
A Sunday School Teacher was trying to train her kids. She had told them how to behave, and especially since she was teaching at the Sunday school, she wanted to make sure her kids were behaving properly. To make sure that they understood, she asked, "Now why is it that we do not make noise in the church?" There was a long pause, and then her daughter said, "Because, some people are sleeping!"
READ Matthew 19:28-20:28
These passages are all connected even though it is a long passage.
In the Kingdom of God there are rewards built in to obeying God. The life of the Spirit is the spiritual life of servanthood. Sometimes it is sacrifice, sometimes you have to give things up or live an austere life -- give up comforts and pleasures that you might otherwise embrace, except that you are living your life for Jesus. Sometimes it is an abundant life, you have more than you need, and sometimes you end up in prison. But whatever God has chosen for your life, we obey that choice that He has made for us. We bring ourselves into alignment with His purposes for our lives. As we do that whenever we give up fathers, mothers, sisters, children, spouses, because we are serving God, we find that God will bring into our lives mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, relationships of the Spirit, so that wherever we go, we will find brothers and sisters.
When we left the United States to live here, we may have had the feeling that we were giving some things up...We had a nice place to live, good jobs, and we were in a very beautiful place in Southern California, and we came to India and Bangalore was a lot simpler earlier.
I left my parents and family -- cousins, brothers and came to India. But I think that something that we experienced a few years ago gives an illustration of what Jesus explains in this passage.
In 2004, I felt that God was asking us to take a journey in US. We were there for a couple of years when my wife was finishing her music degree program. After that, I wanted to fly out from the other side of the country and drive the whole way. We did not have a vehicle to drive across the country. I tried different options. But I was praying -- where God guides, He provides. So I called some friends to say that we were driving across and asked them if they wanted us to do some music we were available.
One of those couples that invited us was the American CEO for India, for Etan. They had over 80,000 employees worldwide. They called us and said, "We heard that you are here. We are in San Diego. We want to come over and have dinner." So they literally invited themselves over for dinner. They asked us about our plans and I told them about our plan to travel across the country, although we did not have a car. They said, "We have a car here (it was one of those Ford explorers) and we have airplane tickets to go home. Would you do us a favor, and drive our car across the country?" And they lived on the other side of the country, from where we were planning to fly out. I said, "Sure!!" So they were treating us like family.
We travelled 30 days through California, about 10,000 KMS. In those 30 days, there was just one night we stayed in a hotel, because we were tired of staying with friends and family.
In other words, we always had a place to stay. Not that cousins and brothers by blood relations, but in the Kingdom of God, people who opened their doors and gave us a place to stay. We had houses, vehicles, family, relations, who opened their doors for us. Yes we gave up something, I guess, but what we gave up was not nearly as valuable as what God had given us in return.
Now Jesus is talking about eternal life, He is saying, some who are first will be last, and some who are last will be first. Then He gives a parable of a landowner who is inviting workers to come. We will talk about that in a moment.
In all these stories - of who is great in the Kingdom, the rewards of the Kingdom, then Jesus telling us about His crucifixion, followed by Mrs. Zebedee coming and asking for his boys to have a special place in His kingdom, all these are linked showing us the economy of the Kingdom of God.
A central message to all of these passages:
God's system of reward and values-His economy-is different from ours.