Matthew 20:1-16

Jerry's sermon yesterday used Matthew 20:1-16.

He noted something which I did not think about before which then led me to other thoughts.

The landowner pays those hired last first, and in doing so he knows this will create a possible point of conflict with those hired first. (This is Chism's point)

He could have paid those hired first - first and they would have not known that those hired later got the same wage. In addition those hired last (and therefore paid first) they probably left and did not know that they were paid the same wage of those hired first. So although those hired last got the same wage and might think the landowner was either generous or made a mistake, those hired first (and paid last) saw the generosity of the landowner.

I could not help but think of this story and Hosea 11, a chapter about God's compassion despite Israel's ingratitude. The more God calls Israel the more they moved away from God. And yet God asks "How can I give you up?" The text goes on to say, "I will not execute my fierce anger" "for I am God and no mortal, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath."

The landowner and God both are beyond generous and grace filled.

There are so many people who talk about God has to be "just", that is if there is an unrepentive sinner God has to punish that person because if God does not then God is not "just". This story in Matthew and this chapter in Hosea, give evidence to the fact that God is not "just" the way we think of what "just" is. "God is no mortal".

Perhaps that is why so many people (in and out of religion) cannot wrap their mind around the fact that God is radically grace oriented and not judgment oriented. Mortals are judgment oriented. That is one of the things that makes God, well, God. When we sing amazing grace, why do we not believe or truly affirm that grace really is amazing?

They say God cannot be God unless God is "just". What I am saying is that God cannot be God unless God is "grace".

I want to be grace oriented.