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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Matthew 20:1, “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.”

Each day the crowd seeking work grows larger. A group of men cluster at the town square. The sun is just above the horizon and its warmth has not spread yet. The men stomp their feet and blow on their hands for heat. Each man looks at the other, but sees only the eyes of his own hungry family waiting for a meal. A murmur moves through the men. The vineyard owner is seeking extra help. He wants them all. All! Then they will receive little pay but, no, wait, his offer is a full daily wage. Relief. A full day of work and full pay. Gratitude.

Until the owner gathers more and more men throughout the day. The work is heavy. He extends opportunity right up to the last hour. And pays them all equally. Resentment. The latecomers did not bear the burden or the temperature. Grumbling.

An answer from the owner. Can I not be generous if I so choose? I decide what is needed and who shall work which task. Remember what you agreed upon.

Underneath I squirm. Memories of envy rise to the surface, when a friend succeeded immediately in a task I had spent many hours doing. With similar results. But I had worked so long and so hard. Why does it come so easy for her?

And then I remember the joy of the process and the people along the way and the wonderful sense of accomplishment and a sense of God’s Spirit sustaining me. Growth.

Unfair thoughts slip away. Thank you Lord for Your generous opportunities to each of us. To co-labor in Your fields. To experience Your vineyard. To see a task through from beginning to end.

A full day, a full season, a full life with You.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 127:1

Unless the Lord builds the house,

those who build it labor in vain.

Unless the Lord guards the city,

the guard keeps watch in vain.

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