By The Rev. Dr. Mark A. Scott
In the fall of the year, our Gospel lesson focused on the parable Jesus tells of the workers sent into the vineyard to work. You know the story: At the end of the day the master of the vineyard pays all the workers equally regardless of when they began their tasks.
Jesus offers a valuable lesson about the difficulties we might discover relating to God’s grace. What is most interesting to me is that our human foibles have not changed since Jesus first told the story. We are still subject the temptations of envy and avarice that afflict us as human beings.
For that reason, this lesson provides us a living definition for stewardship—STEWARDSHIP is the convergence of the Gospel with the economy of the world. Stewardship is also the realization that God’s economy based on grace is never the same as the economy of the world in which we function daily. To me, the meaning of this story comes in the last sentence of the text: “So, the last will be first and the first will be last.”
That sentence provides us everything we need to know about how we function as Christian people in the world. Yet, in a very real way, caring for those who are last is not related to what we call “common sense.” Common sense reminds us of all kinds of behaviors contrary to the Gospel.
Through the use of parables and stories, Jesus leads us to define our lives in different ways. If you like poetry, you might enjoy my 100 word summary of this Gospel lesson. Stewardship reminds us of a different way to lead our lives. We learn about that way throughout our lives as we focus on God’s ultimate love, ultimate grace, and ultimate joy!
A Reflection on Matthew 20:1-16
Waiting in morning fog wondering at the potential of a new day.
With new employers transporting them to distant tasks, their day story begins.
Shockingly, others add to their tasks unfolding and later, still others straggle into work as sun falls into sky.
That all receive equally is, in a worldly sense, unfair.
Yet, in the Kingdom of God, it is grace.
If you are late for dinner, do you expect to remain hungry?
God cares for us regardless of when we come to faith.
God shapes us to bear and carry the message.