Sunday, 2 April 2006

Thoughts on Labouring in the Vineyard, the Last Being First and Saving Faith: with Reference to Mt 20:1-16 and Wendy Mesley's "Chasing the Cancer Answer."

...a thought while watching Wendy Mesley's Chasing the Cancer Answer this evening. I can't remember why the thought came then. Perhaps it caused thoughts of fairness in life, or lack of it, to rise nearer the surface of my mind.

The thought:

I wonder if there is more saving faith out there than we think; people who may not have prayed the sinner's prayer in just those words but who believe in their hearts and have confessed with their lips in informal ways but don't have much, or anything, to do with church.

And I wonder if we church-goers and church-workers are called to worship on their behalf, as it were, and to pray for them, to carry them with us as we do what we do; to work rather like those unfortunate fellows who started in the vineyard at the beginning of the day and received the same wage as the one's who worked for just the last few minutes of the day.

And here we are doing all the work and bearing the "burden of the day and the scorching heat" of going to church Sunday after Sunday, living by the rules, tithing what could have been our annual holiday cruise money, and being faithful to our spouses. Meanwhile, God, in His generosity, chooses to make them, who labour under no such burdens, equal to us.

Do we begrudge His generosity? I know I do (Lord, have mercy). I resent the fact that they are not grateful to me in the least, are not at church and contributing to the effort, but expect me (us) to jump when they have a need.

But what if God, in His steadfast love and amazing grace, has chosen me (us) to stand in the gap for them, to slog through the heat of the day because of that's the way He wants it and will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy.

I think I've experienced a glimmer of what the last will be first, and the first last, means. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.