Lectionary Reading: Matthew 20:1-16 (NRSV)
This may be my favorite parable of Jesus. It has the surprise or twist ending that is so characteristic of his stories. The parable hasn’t lost any of its difficulty when told to a 21st century audience either.
I still find it vexing.
Most people put think of themselves as having a good work ethic. And so it is easy to imagine that we would be one of the first people picked on the owner’s first round-up.
As the parable progresses, we do not sympathize with the late arrivals but with the people tired from a hard day’s work.
When the less than full-timers are bestowed with equal pay, it is shocking because we can easily imagine how we would feel. It would not be a happy feeling!
As we think about the story, we recognize that this would not be a sound business practice for a landowner to employ on a regular basis. And so this story must have deeper meaning as it relates not to human practice but to God’s economy.
Grace doesn’t make sense in an environment where we measure ourselves by our productivity.
So how do we embrace this grace not only for ourselves but in order to give it away to others?
I’ll be exploring the idea that we can’t fully realize grace until we begin to see it available for others on Sunday as the final sermon in the series, “Full: Finding God’s Abundance in our Lives.” I hope you’ll join us if you’re in the area - maybe we can be vexed together!
Check out Sam’s Blog here: http://precedinggrace.blogspot.com
Photo by Bread for the World via Flicker.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.