Reread Mt 20:1-16
Jesus’ teaching paints a picture of how God recruits people to serve his purposes. While some labor with their short sighted view of the scope of a day, marking its time and toils, God is still on the pursuit–still on the lookout for more help. There is much work to be done and more workers are needed, even if only for one hour. And so God continues the pursuit of more laborers for the harvest.
This picture of radical equality in an upside down kingdom goes against so much of our predilections about how a community should function. We want to make it about merit, and when we make it about merit we are simply making it about ourselves. It is all to easy to think in terms of us being the heroes of our own story, and by extension the heroes of God’s story. In this scripture we can readily see it is more about the work than the worker, the work is so important God is willing to take even those who have been out waiting around and are only available for a few hours here or there. But we can also see it is about the worker, for God rewards the workers who have come late the same as those who have been out in the field all day. As was mentioned before it is God’s prerogative to be generous, but one thing worth noting is that we know this is what God is like.
In your group discuss or reflect on these queries:
- What does this story tell us of the heart of God who keeps searching for willing workers?
- How do we see the worth in the work of the harvest?
- What fears/jealousies are at work in us as God brings new workers alongside us?
It seems clear to me that the work of God transcends, even defies, things like pecking order and merit. The obvious analogy in light of the work of the church is bearing the gospel, something I believe we all equally share in the rewards of. As we harvest with God it seems right to consider how much more could be done for God’s kingdom if it could be free from jealousy, and be free to share the work with new people God has called alongside us. We lose much in comparing ourselves to one another. We gain much by letting the rewards part go, resting assured that our rewards will be enough, and seeing others around us not as competition for God’s resources, but as co laborers in a work greater and more important than all of us. We lose much in making it about merit; making it about us instead of the one who pursues us, who calls us by name to a great harvest.
In closing share one story of being included in to the work of God, and one way you have helped others to be included into a life of worship.