October 20th, 2006
One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about God is that God must be fair. According to Jesus, God isn’t fair. God is generous and merciful, but he isn’t fair. God does give people gifts every day, but they’re not determined by reference to how hard the people have worked. Sometimes God gives bigger gifts to slackers and smaller gifts to hard workers. God just doesn’t care about being fair. And when he decides whether or not to let you into his kingdom at the end of time, it won’t have anything to do with what you’ve done, how well you’ve behaved, or how hard you’ve worked.
Matthew’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 20
20:1 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a property owner, who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 20:2 The workers agreed to the pay rate of a denarius a day and he sent them into his vineyard. 20:3 He went out about nine o’clock and saw others standing idle in the marketplace. 20:4 He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will give you whatever is appropriate.’ So they went. 20:5 He went out again around midday and three o’clock in the afternoon, and did likewise. 20:6 At around five o’clock he went and found others standing idle. He asked them, ‘Why do you stand here all day idle?’ 20:7 They said, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and you will receive whatever is appropriate.’
20:8 “When evening arrived, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning from the last to the first.’ 20:9 When those who were hired at about the five o’clock came, they each received a denarius. 20:10 When the first came, they imagined that they would receive more, but they also each received a denarius. 20:11 When they received it, they grumbled against the property owner, 20:12 ‘The last workers spent only one hour working, but you have made them equal to us, who have carried the burden of the day and the scorching heat!’
20:13 “But he said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 20:14 Take that which is yours and go your way. I want to give the last workers just as much as to you. 20:15 Isn’t it legal for me to do what I want to with my money? Or are you jealous because I am generous?’ 20:16 The last will be first, and the first will be last. Many are called, but few are chosen.”
20:17 While going up to Jerusalem Jesus took the twelve disciples aside and said, 20:18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be delivered to the senior priests and religious lawyers. They will condemn him to death, 20:19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked, scourged, and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised up.”
20:20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came and knelt before him with her sons, asking for a favour. 20:21 He said, “What do you wish?” She said, “Order that my two sons will sit, one on your right hand, and one on your left hand, in your Kingdom.” 20:22 Jesus answered, “You don’t know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”They said to him, “We are able.”20:23 He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with, but I don’t get to pick who sits on my right hand and on my left hand. Those seats are for the people for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
20:24 When the other ten heard about it, they were upset with the two brothers. 20:25 But Jesus called them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over their subjects, and their dignitaries wield power over them. 20:26 It is not like this among you. Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, 20:27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave, 20:28 just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
20:29 As they left Jericho a crowd followed him. 20:30 Two blind men who were sitting by the road heard that Jesus was passing by, and shouted, “Lord, have mercy on us, son of David!” 20:31 The crowd told them to shut up, but they shouted even more, “Lord, have mercy on us, son of David!” 20:32 Jesus stopped and called them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 20:33 They said, “Lord, we want to see.” 20:34 Jesus was moved with compassion and touched their eyes, and immediately their sight was restored and they followed him.
Entry Filed under: Generosity