Who is entitled?
June 28, 2006
I just love the Daily Office.
The Gospel for today is Matt 20:1-16, the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard.
It’s such a great story. Here we have the “old faithful” who come to work in the morning, thinking at the end of the day that somehow they, because they met their master earlier, because they worked longer, because… whatever… are entitled to more than those who didn’t get the privilege of being invited into service until later on. “Oh no” they say, “Master you can’t give them what you’re giving us– we’ve been here longer. We know this field. We’ve worked it all day long. We’ve put more into it, we know how to get more out of it then these newcomers you’ve brought in here at the end of the day.”
What is the master’s response? “Get over yourself.” “There is plenty to go around and you are getting what I promised you– why are you so concerned about what I also promise the others?” “The last is first and the first is last.”
Hmmm. I always do come to the same conclusion as my brothers and sisters on the orthodox side- that is that we do definitely interpret the bible differently. I read here a definitely inclusionary message of love, acceptance– a message that God’s love and grace is big- bigger even than we’d like it to be.
I read here that even when we feel like we are entitled to more of God’s grace than others, God won’t hear of it. That God does not say “I will pay you more and the other less” but instead that God says “I will pay you all the same.” That we are all to be paid the same– all.
What a hard message to hear. God’s love is bigger than we would like.
That means that God doesn’t love us any more just because we work harder, or longer. That means that God doesn’t love or judge us any less just because we work less, or screw up more. God’s love is bigger than we’d like.
That’s not to say that God wants us to screw up- of course not. But God loves us the same all the time. God loves us more than we can imagine. Why, then, are WE so quick to throw stones? So quick to anger? So quick to divide instead of to unite?
God’s love is bigger than we can imagine. Whether we are late or early, it is the same.
What a wonderful God.