Settling Accounts

Settling Accounts

Friends, I invite you to share your comments on these Afterthoughts at the bottom of this web page. I would love hear what you think!
brad+

Entitlement is something that has gained attention in our culture these days.

It is usually brought up when a conversation is being had about the younger generations. They are accused of being entitled.

What does it mean to be entitled?

Believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.

The things that these generations believe they are entitled to

are things that older generations knew they needed to work for.

It wasn’t a given.

It wasn’t something they deserved.

Entitlement is, essentially, an attitude that, by my mere existence,

I should receive x.

Try being a parent to a child who believes this.

Not fun.

Phones.

Clothes.

Shoes.

Money.

What’s more,

Their generation is one of the most spoiled, in terms of stuff and access to stuff,

Of any of the previous generations.

They are living in a country and during a time in history that affords them the most opportunity to succeed.

And many expect things to be handed to them.

Many believe they deserve it.

Not all, but many.

In the Gospel reading from last Sunday,

Jesus shares with us another example of what God’s Kingdom is like.

And if you remember from a few weeks ago when the Gospel readings talked about the Kingdom of God, then you remember that the Kingdom of God is a place for God’s Dominion.

It’s God’s place.

Not ours.

Which, I think, gives some understanding to the reading from this last Sunday.

There is a landowner who has a vineyard.

The landlord needs laborers to work the vineyard.

The landlord goes out into the city square and hires laborers.

He does this early in the morning.

Then landlord also went out at 9am, noon, 3 pm and about 5 pm.

After the day was spent and work was done, accounts were settled.

The workers needed to be paid.

So those that showed up late in the day were paid first,

and then in descending order from there.

The crime in the story (to some of the laborers),

Is that everyone was paid the same.

In what Bizarro Superman world is this okay in?

A day’s labor should be paid to those who worked a days labor.

And everyone else gets a prorated check.

That seems fair.

Except,

Jesus is talking about Gods Kingdom.

Which is not based on “good enough.”

Or “wealthy enough.”

Or “religious enough.”

Or about being born into the right family.

Or the right country.

Or the right social status.

Or any other thing we could possibly come up with to justify why we would deserve salvation.

Why we are entitled to salvation.

Like the Pharisees.

They had the religious thing down.

Made sure all the “I’s” were dotted and the “T’s” were crossed.

Worked a full day they did.

Worked hard for the landlord in the vineyard.

Expected full pay.

Actually,

Better pay.

Than others.

Like the gentiles.

Or tax collectors.

Or sinners.

But the Landlord is a generous God.

And wants all to experience this generosity.

And, I do mean all.

Remember the words of John 3 :16,

For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son,

That whosoever should believe in will not parish but have life eternal.”

This is a generous God.

And a marker of the Kingdom of said Generous God.

The God who,

Not because they deserved it,

Provided the children of Israel:

  • Cloud cover during the day.
  • Light by night.
  • Water to drink and food to eat in the wilderness.

Go look at it from this past Sunday’s Old Testament reading.

Exodus 16 (the second book of the Bible, right after Genesis).

And the God that sustained Paul while in prison.

With such unspeakable joy that he could still encourage others.

And, from this last Sunday, the Church at Philippi.

We serve a generous God.

And.

We are owed nothing.

No entitlement within God’s Church.

As Paul says to the Church in Rome,

 [We] all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

May we all come to the Table that God has set before us

and dine freely with all the redeemed.

Those who arrived early,

And those who arrived later

And those who barely made it.

Blessings,

brad+

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