Comparing wages - keeping up with the Joneses - is unfortunately a way of life for many of us. It can breed discontent, and often does. But when we know only our wages, we don't complain at all. Our human nature likes fairness. But are we satisfied when someone is truly fair?A hearty thank you to Exploring the Quran reader Dan, who sent Nashida the link to the HTML to put links to the ESV text by each Scripture reference.
The point of today's parable is God's fairness and generosity versus ours. Granted, the first workers did verbally agree for one denarius. Today's courts usually don't like the wage inequality, however. So we ask God, "How can You be so unfair?" Those who do less are given proportionately more. Where do you stand before God in respect to this? Do you work all day, every day? Or do you only work a little and infrequently?
Seen through the Law-lens, the point of this parable disappears, for God does not define Himself by the Law. Look at it by the Gospel instead. "Why did God give me this set of circumstances?" All we can know of the answer is that He has situated us in a place to do His will and be molded. All should get a chance to be His servants - even those who do less, who come in late.
Each of us "justly deserves temporal and eternal punishment." BUT! Remember that God's justice forgives you: He came down to earth as a human, lived out the Law, went through God's entire punishment for us. We did not earn this! But see the glorious mercy of God - what we really want, what we need, and what we get when we ask it of God. He is the God-Who-Forgives.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Today's readings: Isaiah 55:6-9; Philippians 1:12-14, 19-30; and Matthew 20:1-16 (sermon text).