Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Workers in the Vineyard

Matthew 20:1-16.  

The day had been a long one.
The sun had pounded heat into his skin,
burning with its impact.
Sweat had tracked into his eyes
and down his back.
He could feel the stab of blisters
on his hands and feet
as his heart forced blood
to his aching muscles.
The exhaustion of working
from sun up to sun down
was melting his bones.
He stood worn down
waiting in the field
for the pay that had been promised him.

He watched as the vineyard owner
paid the man who had worked only for an hour.
Jealousy and hatred
hotter than the sun at midday,
filled him.
How dare the vineyard owner pay this worthless impostor
the same pay
that he had earned?

The other man stood
holding the coin in his hand,
feeling its surface through the grime
straining his skin.
The long day had begun
with the worry that he would earn nothing.
He had stood in the sun
praying for some kind of salvation
for the family he was unable to feed.
When the vineyard owner had hired him
at the very end of the day,
he had been grateful.

With the coin in his hand
he knew what real gratitude was
he knew what grace really meant.
He stood with what he had not earned.
He stared at what he hadn't ever imagined
would be his.
Tears mixed with the sweat on his face.

Who are we?
Are we the man who stands in the stink
of hatred and jealousy,
claiming that the reward is not fair?
Or are we the man who knows salvation
is not earned,
it is given.
A gift of grace that brings us life.
When will we come to see our own unworthiness
for the amazing gift we have been given?
When will we allow the beauty of that gift
to change us?
When will we realize that we are the one
who come late to the field,
and who has not earned what we have been given?

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