My son ran on his high school cross country team. At his first meet, we saw the most remarkable thing at the finish line. Of course, the first runners finished to an explosion of cheers. But if you stuck around until the bitter end, the very last runner also received applause and shouts of encouragement from the spectators who remained. It was a beautiful thing.
Jesus once told a story to his followers to explain something about the kingdom of heaven. In the story, a vineyard owner hires a group of workers at daybreak. They toil for hours in the blazing sun. As the story progresses, the owner hires a final group of workers at 5:00 p.m. who end up working only one hour.
When it comes time to pay the workers, they all receive the same amount—no matter how long they have worked. Those hired first complain bitterly to the landowner. He responds, “I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:14,15).
Unfair, right? But Jesus was making a point about something far greater. There will be as much rejoicing in heaven over the one who confesses Jesus on their deathbed as there is for the lifelong believer.
Do you know someone who needs to hear about Jesus while there’s still time? Cheer for that last runner. Share God’s love with that person while they still draw breath.