Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Gospel in a Nutshell - But it's not fair!!!!

Matthew 20:1-16


Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o'clock,
the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.'
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o'clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o'clock,
the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,
'Why do you stand here idle all day?'
They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.'
He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.'
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
'Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.'
When those who had started about five o'clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
'These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day's burden and the heat.'
He said to one of them in reply,
'My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?'
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."

This week was the weekend that our church group got together to discuss the gospel.  And boy, am I glad we did!

When I first read this passage all I could think was "But it's not fair" (imagine it in a whiny four year old voice to get my exact response!)

Is this parable really telling me that there is no difference in the reward of heaven between someone who has worked hard all their life for God and someone who just chooses God at the last minute?

Well, yes it does.  And I'm happy to say that I'm glad about it. Phew, no more whiny four year old!

As Christians, our goal should be to get ourselves and others into heaven.  My number one wish for my husband and my children is that I can help them live a life so that they can reach heaven.  We should be ecstatic if someone we know decides (even if at the last minute) to choose to love God.  This "fairness" that we find so difficult is a human difficulty.  Thank God that Jesus does not look at things this way!

Jesus looks at things differently.  His love for us is from who we are and not what or how much we have done.  It's what is in our heart while serving God that matters, not the duration or outcome of our effort!  When we think we deserve certain rewards our pride kicks in and we lose it!

The parable teaches us that eternal life is a gift freely given to us all who will receive it (so hurry and receive it because who knows when your last chance to accept will come!)

2 comments:

  1. That was exactly my thoughts (and reaction!) when I heard the Gospel proclaimed today! I'm certainly glad I was not alone! :-))))

    Our priest also tied it into how the Jews felt with the Gentiles coming into the Church. The Jews had been the "chosen" people for so many thousands of years, had endured slavery and so many trials and now these "others" who shared none of the same history were coming into the Church and being welcomed with open arms. One could easily see how they would be upset and say out loud, "it's not fair." :-)

    We definitely do not see as God sees and must pray for His Wisdom to help us in that department! :-))))

    Hope you had a great weekend!
    God bless,
    Lisa

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  2. I agree completely!
    There's one thing that those of us who choose before the last minute get, though, and that's added time to get to know Jesus before we get to heaven. Yes, heaven is our goal and it's most important to get people to join us, but there's so much joy that comes with walking with him on this earth!
    Not contradicting at all, just adding to it :)

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