Monday, August 15, 2011

The Eleventh Hour

Here is a mild rebuke for those of us who, like myself, can be a bit proud of our Christian pedigree.  What a sight it will be one day in God's Kingdom when those who have been Christians for generations, who have recited the creeds and catechisms from memory, who can articulate the finer points of theology, will find themselves taken aback by the rewards of Life that Jesus will bestow upon Muslims who have just now at the eleventh hour come into the Kingdom through faith in Christ and know NOTHING of church history, the creeds and catechisms, or theology.  All they know is Christ and him crucified!  Let us not be among those who are surprised, pharisaic or bitter.  Let us rather stand by and applaud the mercy of our Lord in saving them...
Jesus said:
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house,saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”
(Matthew 20:1–16 ESV)

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