“I know your works—your love, faith, service, and patient endurance. I know that your last works are greater than the first.” (vs. 19)
Perhaps I am reading verse 19 all wrong, however it was really struck by the fact that Jesus tells the Church “I know your last works are greater than the first.” To me this was NOT Jesus emphasizing that the works of love, faith, service, and patient endurance are greater now than they were when the church was first established (though I am sure that was true). Instead as I read this passage I thought Jesus is encouraging them by saying “you don’t know it yet, but I know all things and I know that you last works, your later works, will be greater than the first.” Jesus is no longer flesh and blood so Jesus is no longer bound by time. Jesus transcends time. So we can trust that God follows behind us in our past, that God walks beside us in our present, and that God waits for us in our future. I was encouraged to be reminded as I read this scripture that God transcends time. And further encouraged that the God who stands waiting in my future and the future of the church says “trust me, your later works are greater than the first.”
It can be easy to feel stagnant in ministry and faith. We can reach places where we feel like we are not doing enough, we are getting the results we want, we see no measurable growth or change. We keep doing what Jesus calls us to do. We keep loving, we keep hoping, we keep abiding in faith. We seek to endure patiently. We seek God’s wisdom and God’s will. We reach out to others in love. But it feels like there should be something more or something greater. In these moments, we can be reminded of Revelation 2 where Jesus says “trust me your last works are greater than the first.” Jesus encourages the church to keep being the church, keep pursuing works of love, keep having faith, and keep seeking God. And God will use our faithfulness to do God’s work in God’s time. Furthermore, by the Holy Spirit, God will make our works great and increasingly greater. Today, we cannot see what tomorrow brings, but God already knows and already stands there waiting for us. And the God who waits for us in all of our tomorrows says that our last works will be greater than our first. So take heart and continue in the works of love and faith, the works of Christ.