Wednesday, 20 August 2008

My Thoughts on the Bible Readings of Today

The call of the Lord in Ezekiel in today's bible reading to feed His sheep should be familiar, as it was what Jesus said three consecutive times to Peter. And the last part of the reading (I myself will search for my sheep and seek them out) sounds like a foreshadowing of the coming of God the Son. But let's move on to the gospel reading.

First some background. In Jesus' time laborers had to wait each day in the marketplace until someone hired them for a day's job. No work that day usually meant no food on the family table. Thus the landowner was generous in giving the laborers hired last money for a day's food for an hour's work. Nothing wrong with that scenario right? It is after all his money. So why did the laborers hired earlier complain? I guess they wanted an equal share in that generosity. The fact that they who worked longer did not get more generosity than those who did not work as long galled them. But they forgot that they did not sign on for generosity or equality, but for a day's wages. The amount of work that needs to be done to deserve that wage is entirely dependent on he who pays the wage, not he who works.

Now I'm going to be less literal and shift into allegory mode. Aren't many of us like the first workers to be hired? We voluntarily sign on to serve the Lord for imprecise rewards, yet when we see other servants become "luckier" in their service we complain that the Lord is unfair. But the very fact that we are created different with different gifts to live out different parts in God's plan means some will be "luckier" than others. Furthermore, how do we measure the "luck"? By material things, i.e. how rich, how spiritually gifted, how high in position, how clever, how beautiful, how happy and so on. But God never promised us these things when we enter His service, just fullness of life on Earth and eternity in Heaven. Shouldn't we leave other rewards up to Him? After all, He knows best.

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