This week’s sermon was the on the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. In preparing this sermon I had to think a lot about issues of what we consider to be unfair. Jesus told about workers who put in unequal effort and yet received the same pay. When we read the story, I think our immediate reaction is to say, along with those in the story who had worked 12 hours, “that’s not fair.”
Here's how Jesus has the vineyard owner in the story respond:
“But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:13-16, NIV 2011)
This is a reminder that God does not treat us as we deserve, but instead he treats us all generously through his grace and mercy. If we begin to think we deserve what we have, we fail to remember that it is all a gift from God.
I know that for many life does not seem to be fair. Difficulties enter our life that make us think, “Why me?” We struggle with illnesses, the loss of loved ones, financial difficulties, the effects of the decisions of others, etc. I think this is why Jesus encourages us to change the focus on by grateful for what we have been given, rather than comparing what we have to another and feeling dissatisfied. Practicing gratitude is difficult. It’s difficult for me as well. I’m going to try to give thanks to God, this week, for the things he has done.
Remember that this Saturday there will be a Pancake and Sausage breakfast at NDMC to raise funds for God’s Little Acre Preschool. I encourage you to come out and also spread the word!