MESSAGE 24 September – Seventeenth Sunday after PENTECOST – Year A
THEME: God’s generosity
That’s no way to run a vineyard Jesus! No one is going to show up tomorrow morning at 9am if you keep doing this.
The full day workers their complaint isn’t – you are cheap? It isn’t we want more. The complaint is: You made those people equal to us!
The people who worked the hour are probably not the strongest, probably not the healthiest, probably not the most desirable, probably not the team player.
Am I not allowed to choose to do with what belongs to me?
Are you envious because I am generous?
Display of generous grace.
Are we comfortable with abuse, oppression, sometimes we don’t say anything about it. Looks like the people in the parable didn’t either. But when something generous happens everybody stops, takes notice and gives an account for it.
Title: “The Generosity of God: Lessons from Matthew 20:1-16”
The incredible generosity of our God, as revealed in Matthew chapter 20, verses 1 to 16. This passage contains a parable shared by Jesus, which offers profound insights into God’s character and challenges us to live out this generosity in our own lives.
- The Parable of the Vineyard Workers (Matthew 20:1-7)
Let’s start by summarising the parable. In this story, a landowner hires workers at different times throughout the day to work in his vineyard. Some are hired early in the morning, and others are employed later in the day. When evening comes, the landowner pays all the workers the same wage, regardless of when they were hired.
- God’s Generosity in Providing Opportunity (Matthew 20:1-7)
- God is the landowner in this parable, and the vineyard represents His kingdom.
- The workers symbolise people from different walks of life who come to serve God at various stages in their journeys.
- The landowner’s repeated hiring demonstrates God’s continuous call to us, irrespective of our past or the time we respond.
- God’s Generosity in Rewards (Matthew 20:8-12)
Now, let’s explore the generosity of God in how He rewards His workers.
- Equal Payment for Unequal Labor (Matthew 20:8-10)
- The landowner’s decision to pay all the workers the same wage regardless of hours worked displays God’s grace, which is not based on human merit.
- This challenges our worldly understanding of fairness and rewards us with God’s unmerited favour.
III. Lessons and Applications:
- Gratitude and Contentment (Matthew 20:13-15)
- We should avoid comparing our blessings with others, recognising that God’s generosity is beyond human comprehension.
- Gratitude should fill our hearts, knowing that God has given us all we need and more.
- Generosity in Our Lives (Matthew 20:16)
- We are called to emulate God’s generosity by sharing His love, grace, and resources with others.
- In our interactions with family, friends, and strangers, we can demonstrate the same level of kindness and grace shown in this parable.
- Trusting God’s Timing (Matthew 20:1-7)
- Like the workers who were hired later in the day, we should trust God’s timing for our lives and remain open to His call.
- Patience and faith are essential as we wait for God’s plans to unfold.
III. Practical Applications for the Church:
- Embrace Inclusivity and Open Arms (Matthew 20:13-15)
- The Church is called to be a welcoming community, accepting all who respond to God’s invitation, regardless of their background.
- We must avoid comparisons and judgments, recognising that God’s generosity knows no bounds.
- Model Generosity (Matthew 20:16)
- The Church should emulate God’s generosity in our actions, attitudes, and resources.
- We are to be instruments of God’s love, grace, and generosity in our society.
- Emphasise God’s Timing and Sovereignty (Matthew 20:1-7)
- As the Church, we should trust in God’s perfect timing and remain open to His call.
- Patience and faith should characterise our response to His plans.
- The Church’s Role in Society:
- Be a Beacon of God’s Generosity
- Our local church communities should radiate God’s generosity, offering love, support, and resources to those in need.
- We must actively engage in acts of service and charity, reflecting God’s heart for the marginalised.
- Advocate for Justice and Fairness
- As the Church, we should advocate for justice and fairness in society, addressing systemic inequalities.
- We are called to speak out against oppression and work for a more equitable world.
- Promote Unity and Inclusivity
- The Church should model unity and inclusivity, demonstrating that in God’s kingdom, there is room for all.
- We must strive to break down barriers that divide society and bring people together in Christ’s love.
The parable of the vineyard workers in Matthew 20 teaches us that God’s generosity is boundless, His grace is immeasurable, and His timing is perfect.
As we go forth from hearing the living word, let us strive to live out God’s generosity in our lives by being grateful, generous, and patient. Let us remember that in God’s kingdom, there is always room for those who respond to His call, regardless of when they hear it. May we be vessels of His love and generosity to a world in need. Amen.