Sunday, June 20, 2010

God's Justice vs. Human Justice

1"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3"About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' 5So they went.

"He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'

7" 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered.
"He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'

8"When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.'

9"The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'
13"But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? 14Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'
16"So the last will be first, and the first will be last." (Matthew 20:1-16)
When Jesus told the disciples they would be greatly rewarded in heaven for what they had given up on earth, He was assuring them that there would no longer be a distinction between themselves and other believers of higher social rank or greater power. In the Kingdom of God, those considered inferior on earth,the fishermen, tax collectors and shepherds,would have equal rank with the scholars, the priests and the Romans who came to Christ for salvation. It’s not a matter of exchanging positions; rather, it is a leveling of all ranks into one. The lowly disciples, who were last in the eyes of many, would be equally exalted in heaven, while those who are elevated in their position on earth would be equal with those who are considered last on earth. In other words, there will be no distinction as to first and last because all will be the same. Jesus further reiterates this point by telling His disciples that those who wanted to be great in the kingdom would do so by being the servant of all.

The Parable of the Vineyard shows that God does not measure in the same we that we do. It is to show it is not the amount, nor the size, but the motive. It’s not how much people have to give that counts, but how much people give of what they have, whatever it may be. God does not measure by merit, but rather by faithfulness to our opportunities.

In God's Kingdom, there is no favoritism. No one will get more because of their status in life, as happens in this Earthly Kingdom. It is difficult to understand God's justice, because it can be so foreign to ours. Not everyone has been given the same opportunities in life, but that does not change God's love for all of us regardless of how much money we have, how much education we have, or how beautiful we are. Each of us are given different gifts, but in God's eyes, no gift is greater that another.

The idea Jesus put forth in this parable is that we need to be able to see each other as God sees us. No one should get better treatment than another. This is kind of a revolutionary idea. Jesus is giving us an example of how it will be in God's Kingdom. It is certainly something to remember as we go through our day. A question we can ask ourselves is "do we treat everyone equally?" Another question we can reflect on "is there any group of people that we look down on as not being as good as us?"
Reflect on those two questions as you go through your day. Then ask yourself, "how would God look at those people?.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

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