Daily Devotion – September 15, 2020 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison

Matthew 20:1-16
20:1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
20:2 After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.
20:3 When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace;
20:4 and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.
20:5 When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same.
20:6 And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’
20:7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’
20:8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’
20:9 When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage.
20:10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage.
20:11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner,
20:12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’
20:13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
20:14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you.
20:15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
20:16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Who’s the Boss?  In the Kingdom of God, God is the boss.

Fortunately, God is generous, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.  Even exorbitantly generous to some folks. Just as father is in the story of the prodigal son.

God is the boss.

How many of us, being perhaps life-long believers, feel cheated that we haven’t been blessed in the same way a death-bed convert might be blessed with forgiveness after a life of crime? That is just not fair. But that’s the kind of God (or boss) we have in the Kingdom of God.

Yes, we’ve made some sacrifices over the years rather than behaving foolishly or selfishly or lazily or wickedly. Some of us are like the full day laborers in the parable. But didn’t we want that work? Aren’t we glad we had it? Would we have done any differently?

Might we not have pity and compassion on those who were not able or inspired or lucky enough to have a whole life of that vineyard work? Why do we wish to control the boss’s behavior with even the late-comers? Even though the latecomer didn’t sweat as much as we did, why be jealous?

Who’s the boss? In the Kingdom of God, God is the boss.

And if some of us are just the tiniest bit naughty or lazy, aren’t we grateful that God is generous, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love? Then we must let it be so for everyone everywhere.

Gracious God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for showing mercy and love to every person. Every person, including us.   Amen.