Scripture: Matthew 20:1-16
Key verse: 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?
Reflection: Imagine a homeowner, wanting to do some repairs to the home, going uptown early in the morning to pick up some day laborers. A fair day’s wage is agreed upon and several pile into the car to begin work. At 9 a.m. the homeowner realizes more workers are needed so more are brought to the job site. At noon more workers were added and also at 3 p.m. At 5 p.m. the homeowner made one more trip uptown to find people still waiting for work. Several more workers were added to the crew.
Finally, that evening, the work was done. The homeowner handed out the pay. To everyone’s surprise the last workers to be hired got a full day’s wage. Those workers were happy. But the ones that had worked all day were… perturbed, and they protested. The homeowner argued that they got what they contracted for, which was true. But they were still upset. Why, they wondered, did the undeserving people get as much as the deserving people?
The homeowner silenced them with a question that has perturbed humans from the beginning of time. It still perturbs us when we think about God’s grace, especially toward those we think don’t deserve it. It’s God’s not-too-subtle dig at our system of valuing people. “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?”
Prayer: O God, your generosity goes far beyond my own sense of fairness, far beyond our conventional sense of justice. Forgive our envy. Remind us again and again that the love and grace you show us is extended to everyone you love. Help us to mirror that grace with everyone we encounter. In the name of Jesus the Christ, the most gracious boss imaginable, we pray.
Author: Von Clemans
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].