pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Sufficient for Us All

Reading: Matthew 20: 1-16

Verse 21: You have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.

Today’s parable is challenging.  It has been prompted by Peter asking Jesus what the disciples will receive for following Jesus.  After all, they left everything behind to follow.  Peter’s question is prompted by the response Jesus gave to the rich young man who asked what he must do to inherit eternal life.  If we recall, the young man went away sad because Jesus asked of him more than he could give at the time.  Peter is told by Jesus that they will be by His side in eternity.  In fact, Jesus says that all who leave things or people behind will inherit eternal life.  Jesus ends this response with, “Many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first”.  From here, Jesus tells today’s parable.

In short, workers are hired throughout the day to come to the vineyard to help with the harvest.  The owner of the vineyard promises each of them the same thing: a fair wage.  They work and line up at the end of the day to receive their pay.  Some had worked all day, some just an hour.  The last are paid first and all receive the same pay: a denarius.  Those who worked the longest are upset, saying to the owner: “You have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day”.  The landowner responds with this: “Or are you envious because I am generous”?

In life, Christians come to faith at different stages in life, each joining in in the building of the kingdom.  The Lord of the harvest promises the same reward to each of them: eternal life.  They go to work and then line up for the reward at the end of their lives.  Some labor for all if their lives, some for just a short time.  The lifers and the new converts receive the same pay.  Those who have been faithful all of their lives can be tempted to say, “Lord, you have made that person who just accepted you equal to us who have served you all of our lives”?  The Lord of the harvest will respond with words of grace and love and invitation.

Yes, God loves us all.  He loves the saints and the sinners.  He loves the saved and the lost.  Heaven rejoices each time a lost soul becomes a part of the family.  His grace is sufficient for us all, whenever and however we come to faith.  The promise is the same: love God and claim eternal life.  Thanks be to God!


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He Is Faithful

Reading: 1 Corinthians 10: 1-13

Paul opens chapter ten reviewing the sins of the Israelites out in the desert.  It was a time of God’s constant presence in the cloud and pillar of fire, yet the people must have gotten used to having Him around.  They stumbled in a number of ways, sometimes repeatedly – idolatry, overindulgence in food and drink, sexual immorality, testing or doubting God.  Paul uses this review lesson as a way to mirror the sins of the church in Corinth.  As we read these sins, we realize they are still common to man in 2016 and perhaps some are even common to us.

Even though God physically was present to the Israelites, they wandered.  As we fast forward to today, we now have the living presence of God present to us in the Holy Spirit.  At times we too can pretend to not hear that little voice in our head or we can shrug off that little nudge that we felt.  Paul issues a warning that applies to us as well: if we feel we are standing firm, be careful that we do not fall.

In this season of Lent, a time of introspection and repentance, let us look hard at our lives.  We may not make golden calves to worship, but are we freely generous with our resources and time?  We may stay away from overindulgence, but do we treat our bodies as temples?  We may not engage in affairs, but does our eye occasionally wander?  And then there is gossip, envy, judging, laziness, …

All is not lost or hopeless.  Paul also reminds us that God is faithful.  God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear.  He will provide a way out.  As we consider the state of our soul this day, may we be willing to use the strength God offers and may we follow the way He provides, lest we too fall.