All figured out

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.” (Isa 55:9).

This passage from the prophet Isaiah is a good thing to remember right about the time you think – “I’ve got this figured out….”  The “this” can be just about any on-going aspect of our life. Think you have high school figured out?  Being a parent or grandparent? Business? Marriage?  Relationships? Tampa Bay Bucs football? Maybe someone is so bold to think, “I have this whole God-thing figured out…”  Hmmmm? Really? Continue reading

Vineyard workers: reflection

What Can We Say. Patricia Datchuck Sánchez writes:

“Like most scriptural texts, this parable also should be evaluated and appreciated with regard for its various levels of development. At its initial or basic level, the parable defended Jesus’ missionary methodology of reaching out to extend the blessings of the kingdom to tax collectors and sinners. Whereas his contemporaries believed these to be pariah with no claim to salvation, Jesus’ words and works indicated that sinners were not only on equal footing with the righteous but were in fact the ones to whom God manifested special love and mercies.” Continue reading

Vineyard workers: assumptions

Caught in the Midst of Assumptions. It is interesting that it is the “manager” or “steward” (epitropos), not the owner, who calls the workers and “gives them their pay/reward” (misthos). They are the ones who dispense what the owner considers right and just. They are also the ones who take the flak from those who disagree. I think we can all relate to being the one thrust into the middle of something not necessarily of our own making. Continue reading

Vineyard workers: daily wage

1 “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.  2 After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.  3 Going out about nine o‘clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,  4 and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’  5 So they went off. (And) he went out again around noon, and around three o‘clock, and did likewise.  6 Going out about five o‘clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’  7 They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’  Continue reading

Vineyard workers: more context

Long (Matthew, Westminster Bible Companion) writes concerning the rich man story, which also applies to our text: “… we must realize that, when the young man encounters Jesus, two very different worlds collide: this world, with all its prevailing customs and values, and the radical new way of life called for in the kingdom of heaven.” [p. 220]

This radical life comes at a price. Peter understands that and so he asks, “what about us who have already given up everything,” Jesus points to the life within the kingdom and then concludes that the called-for reversal will also be evident in the order of blessing on entering the kingdom: “But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (Mt 19:30) Continue reading

Vineyard Workers: context

1 “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.  2 After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard….

In the Matthean narrative we are firmly ensconced in the midst of Jesus’ instructions, not of the crowds, but of the disciples, preparing them for not only his death and resurrection, but also for their mission to world. In other words Jesus is preparing them to be disciples – and preparing them to serve the new People of God being formed. Continue reading