Scripture: Matt. 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: Jesus often uses parables to help the disciples and the first hearers of these stories to think outside the expected. There might be a moral to the story but that was just the beginning. These series of parables invited the listener to imagine the kingdom of heaven. In this Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, there are things that Jesus tells the disciples and us that help us get out of our head about rules and fairness. Once we do that, we can see the grace of God.
I think of this parable every year during Confirmation. It would be great if an 8th grader moved to town a few weeks before confirmation ends and wanted to join the church. The 8th graders are told that there are requirements they must meet in order to join the church. However, if someone moved to town with only two weeks left in confirmation class, they would only be able to do the work the last two weeks. Fair? Maybe not, but it would be a living parable of God’s grace.
The parable conveys a truth, generosity and grace of God that we almost cannot put into words. Who doesn’t want to believe in a God that believes in us? A God who is generous even when we are late to the party? A God who is gracious to us even when we are skeptical, cynical, lazy or broken. The parable is a fabulous reminder that God is bigger than anything that we can imagine might stand in the way of grace. That is the kingdom of heaven.
Prayer: Gracious and generous God, thank you for your extravagant love. Your grace that is more than amazing. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[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].