From Pastor Pat: How to See Our Own Blessings
(Posted September 22, 2017)
One of the ways that the Bible speaks to us is that human nature hasn’t really changed all that much since its stories were first written down. Humanity has developed into a fine art a few dubious traits, and complaining is one of them.
This Sunday finds us first with the Israelites, out in the Sinai desert. God has delivered them from slavery under Pharaoh, but their freedom has come at a price. They are thirsty and, above all, hungry. They are doubting that God is with them (even though there IS that big pillar of flame leading them through the wilderness.) So what do they do? They begin to grumble. LOUDLY. Moses is confronted with a surly group of people who owe their freedom to his leadership. And yet they have the gall to loudly proclaim that they would be better off back in Egypt, where at least they could be sure of a portion of Pharaoh’s bread. What God has in store for them will surprise and shame them for their disbelief.
Similarly this Sunday we encounter that same human trait in the parable Jesus tells the disciples about the Vineyard owner, who hires laborers for an agreed upon daily wage. As there is more work to do, the owner decides late in the day to hire even more laborers, who receive the same full day’s pay as the men who’ve been working all day. There is a major blowup among the people who feel somehow devalued. Mass grumbling and resentment erupts toward the Vineyard owner. It is he that points out that it is his prerogative to be generous with the late comers as he chooses, and that really none of the laborers are less blessed just because others have received as much as they have. In God’s Vineyard, Jesus points out, there are blessings for all, even the late comers, and he reminds us that, in the Kingdom, “The last shall be first, and the first, last.”
I invite you this Sunday to hear “the rest of the story” about learning how to see our own blessings despite what the other guy may seem to have received from God. – Pastor Pat Kriss