by Dr. Ed Young

H. Edwin Young
March 7, 1993
Matthew 20:1-16

Last place gets the blue ribbon. We spent the last
couple of weeks in Houston proving that is not right
at the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show. Whoever heard
of last place getting the blue ribbon. We now have a
grand champion and the grand champion sold for what?
Over $300,000. I believe that first place gets the
blue ribbon. In all this business about last place
getting the blue ribbon, the last shall be first, why
it's a nonsensical kind of thing unless you're
standing in a line and you're at the back of the line
and you see one of your erstwhile friends toward the
front and you shout out to him, Well, the first shall
be last. And he looks at you and smiles and he said,
Yeah, but not in this line and not today and not in
this world.

It seems that in the agenda in which you and I have
been called to live, that the very opposite is true.
And that is simply that the first shall be first and
the last shall be last and the whole crazy notion of
the last being first is some kind of biblical nonsense
or some humor that we use because we picked up this
little phrase in the tradition of our culture. But we
read in the Bible that the parable of Jesus is
surrounded by that verse. It's surrounded. That is the
parentheses around the parable we're studying today,
the last shall be first and the first shall be last.
Bang! It ends with the same thing. The last shall be
first and the first shall be last.

So what's the context of it? We'd better go first of
all on the other side of the first verse and we see
that here the rich young ruler came to Jesus. Now
there's a lot of wonderful things about that guy. He
went to the right person, Jesus. He went at the right
time, when he was young. He asked the right question,
what must I do to inherit eternal life? He came with
the right attitude, he bowed. He had the right kind of
life ...

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