Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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Are you envious because I am generous?

“Are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:16)

So God owns a vineyard and decides to hire people at different points and pay the same wage. In our society that might spell lawsuit. But God works on a different economic model. Where most business transactions in the world are driven by a concern for profit, God’s concern is generosity. It doesn’t matter when you decided to join the workforce; what matters is that you joined up at all. God is so generous that he would rather have us come late than not show up at all.

We who have been working in the field of the Lord for a while can be quick to judge the latecomers. Perhaps a new church attender volunteers to help teach children and gets more attention for his new ideas than you have received for all the years you have put in. Perhaps someone from a different faith tradition has converted and is filled with a zeal that makes you uncomfortable. Or perhaps a new, young minister is selected at your congregation, and (s)he upsets the status quo with their approach to worship style or evangelization.

But Matthew 20 asks us to embrace God’s economy of salvation. He doesn’t look at formulas, past practices, or current expectations as much as he looks at the heart. He is more than happy to welcome anyone who joins him in the vineyard, be it day or evening or even the last hour. He is so happy, in fact, that he has no problem giving them the same pay that he promised to those who have been faithful, longtime workers in the vineyard.

The real issue isn’t one of payment—whether it’s money, recognition, or some other reward. The real issue is the vineyard. As Jesus said in another passage, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:36). All around us, people waiting to be shown the gospel in action. In our neighborhoods, at work, even in our families, people are ready to hear the good news about Jesus, but there’s no one available to help them. No wonder God is eager for people to join him in the fields! May we have the same attitude.

“Father, help me be just as generous as you are with all those who are joining you in the vineyard!”

Judges 9:6-15; Psalm 21:2-7

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