Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Gospel reading for this week is from Matthew 20:1-16. It’s the well known parable of the laborers. In this parable, the master hires day laborers first thing in the morning. He goes out later and hires more people who weren’t there at first. He does this again several times. Eventually, the last people he hires are brought to work near the end of the work day.
Every laborer receives the same pay. There is no distinction in the reward, though there are differences in the work. Those hired first are upset because they think their work is worth more than the work of the people who came on near the end of the day. But the master persists. He is generous, paying what was agreed upon to those who he first hired, and treating the others kindly.
It would be easy to take away an attitude that says we don’t need to enter into the Christian life with any urgency. After all, the master comes back again and again. However, we notice that the people hired in each instance were those who were not present before. it appears they each received only one chance.
It would be easy to suggest that the kingdom of God is a place where it doesn’t matter how hard you work. However, the master expected and received honest work from all of his employees. They simply labored for different amounts of time.
What is a reasonable interpretation? Whenever God’s call comes to us, we accept it. He has plans for us and will reward us. We do what he has given us to do. We have a living expectation that he will in fact care for us and use us for the good of his kingdom. God calls each one of us to work in his field. Whether our job is great or small, our time long or short, it is valuable in his sight.
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