Thursday Morning, 10 Oct 2019 – Matthew 20:1-28 ~ “Do you begrudge my generosity?”

Thursday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Guidance – Thursday)

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: Guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our lives we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Matthew 20:1-28 (NLT)

Parable of the Vineyard Workers

“For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work.

“At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing.

“At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’

“They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’

“The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’

“That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’

“He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’

“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”

Jesus Again Predicts His Death

As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”

Jesus Teaches about Serving Others

Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. “What is your request?” he asked.

She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”

But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?”

“Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!”

Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”

When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
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Morning Reflection:

Following Jesus even when it doesn’t add up.

“Do you begrudge my generosity?”
– Matthew 20:15 –

The parable of the vineyard workers contrasts our human way of reckoning the value of work with God’s way of reckoning the value of people. The landowner needed to have the work done and hired workers at different times to do it. But in the end, he hired the last worker out of generosity and human kindness, not because of his value as a worker.

The appeal to fairness of the early workers was not unreasonable if you view people from the perspective of value added to an endeavor; the early workers had added more value to the landowners workforce. But what did they expect from the landowner – an increase in wages, a decrease in the last workers wages, or were they just complaining. But the landowners response is telling – the early workers have already received the wages agreed upon, but it’s his money, and he can do what he wants with it… he can be as generous as he chooses with it. The landowner in the story was both gracious and just.

The point of the story is that God will reward all His disciples justly, graciously, and generously. In some cases the last called will be among the first in rank of blessing. Conversely in some cases those whom God called early in their lives may not receive as much reward as those called later in life.

Questions for consideration:

  • Do you consider yourself a long-time follower of Jesus, or a newcomer? How has God blessed you as a follower of Jesus? Please explain.
  • When you consider other believers in your fellowship of faith, how do you view newcomers in comparison to long-time members? Do either of them receive special treatment from other believers? Please explain.
  • How does this story affect your understanding of God’s fairness? Please explain.
  • How does this story affect your understanding of God’s goodness? Please explain.
  • If the first will be last and the last will be first in the Kingdom, how do you view those who get ahead of you in line? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer – A Litany of Thanksgiving –

Give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts so freely bestowed upon us:

+ For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and sky and sea,
We thank you, Lord.
+ For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and our friends,
We thank you, Lord.
+ For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve,
We thank you, Lord.
+ For health and strength to work, and time to rest and worship,
We thank you, Lord.
+ For all who are patient in suffering and faithful in adversity,
We thank you, Lord.
+ For all who earnestly seek after truth, and all who labor for justice,
We thank you, Lord.
+ For all that is good and gracious in the lives of men and women, revealing the image of Christ,
We thank you, Lord.
+ For the communion of saints, in all times and places,
We thank you, Lord.

Above all, we give you thanks for the great mercies and promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord; To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen

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“His Mercy Is More” – Shane and Shane

Praise the Lord!
His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins, they are many, His mercy is more

What love could remember no wrongs we have done
Omniscient, all-knowing, He counts not their sum
Thrown into a sea without bottom or shore
Our sins, they are many, His mercy is more

Praise the Lord!
His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins, they are many, His mercy is more

What patience would wait as we constantly roam
What Father, so tender, is calling us home
He welcomes the weakest, the vilest, the poor
Our sins, they are many, His mercy is more

Praise the Lord!
His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins, they are many, His mercy is more

What riches of kindness He lavished on us
His blood was the payment, His life was the cost
We stood ‘neath a debt we could never afford
Our sins, they are many, His mercy is more

Praise the Lord!
His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins, they are many, His mercy is more
Praise the Lord!
His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins, they are many, His mercy is more
Our sins, they are many, His mercy is more
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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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