Reflection on Matthew 20:1-16 (16th Sunday after Pentecost)

The wilderness in the Exodus passage, Exodus 16:2-15, provides a perfect setting for God to be exactly what the people need at this moment in time. It seems people are complaining against guidelines set by our leaders.  “Then the LORD said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not.” Sound familiar, God will be testing us if we are able to follow directions. He will also provide us safety if we listen to Him. Remember he has given us the necessary tools to survive.

Now this leads right into the Matthew passage that God is providing to those who need help by giving them an opportunity to work to get enough wages to provide food for those dependent upon them. Now some who were first and got paid last were disappointed, thinking they work the longest and compared to the last they should have gotten a bonus. Perhaps they all needed to stop and be still for a moment and recognize God as the source of all blessings received. We also need to stop and think about the blessings coming when we need them as it did for the workers in the vineyard.  This parable unveils a truth that we need to hear. That truth is this: God calls us to give ourselves unreservedly to God’s service and to trust God for our reward. This is that God is certain to be more generous than we deserve and probably more generous than we could even imagine. Many seem to live a life without Christ, without faith, without prayer and especially without hope. And in their last day’s they find Christ on their deathbed, so even though they are among the last God forgives their sins and welcomes them into the life of Christ.  As we can see God sees everyone as equal, even the latecomers to the faith. Remember Jesus told the criminal on the cross telling him: “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” As we look at the parable of the vineyard, we can understand what Jesus was telling His disciples. That even if you come late in life to follow Jesus you will be welcomed.  The Apostle Paul, originally, persecuted some of the early disciples of Jesus, came to be a disciple of Jesus later in his life. Paul is generally considered one of the more important figures of the time.

Let us pray: Faithful God, at the start of this new week, help us to be an example to others and show us the practical steps we need to take to develop consistency and integrity in all that we do in our lives. This we pray in Jesus name. Amen

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