Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22 - The Last Will Be First

Today's Reading:
Ezekiel 40:28-41:26
Matthew 20:1-28
Proverbs 17:15-24
Click on Text Link to Read Online

Focus Verses:
Matthew 20:13-16  
13 "But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?' 16 "So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

The master of the vineyard was not primarily interested in pay, but rather in people and purpose. His main concern was to enlist people into the meaningful work of his kingdom. Some of the workers were more concerned about pay equity than about helping the others find employment.

It's likely that many of the last to be hired were in the worse condition; maybe they were less desirable or unable to compete or be as productive. In such a case, the mercy of the master is even more profound. Whatever the case, it's clear the master was motivated by his own generosity, not by the merits of his workers.

Response and Action:
God's grace is extended to everyone. I will rejoice in his generosity to all people and be thankful for his goodness to me. I will not waste my time by comparing myself to others. I will serve God with a thankful heart knowing that it is only by his grace that anyone serves. I will give thanks and praise for every new worker in the vineyard and pray for more to come.

O God, thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for giving me a place to work in your vineyard. Your generosity and goodness are such a blessing. Serving you gives me hope and purpose. Keep calling more and more people to your vineyard, O Lord, and bless them with all good things. Through Christ, I pray. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Psalm 146:5-8
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, 6 the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—the LORD, who remains faithful forever. 7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, 8 the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous.

Interpreting the Parables
by Craig Blomberg

No comments: