CULTIVATING IN THE LORD’S VINEYARD (Mathew 20:1- 16). Vol.8 No.22

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An interactive discussion between the moderator and members of the bed briefing family on the topic: CULTIVATING IN THE LORD’S VINEYARD (Mathew 20:1- 16)

Date: 20th September 2020

Time : 8:30 pm

Venue: Bed Briefing House via whatsapp

Moderator: Mr Ojiakor Chijioke

Collator: Miss Benita Aniebo

Our Blessed Lord began the Passage with a Controversial Parable – One of the Most Misinterpreted Passages of the Scripture. Jesus told an uncommon story of how a land owner went out at the early hours of the day (6:00am) to find labourers to work on his Vineyard. He promised to pay them the agreed Daily Wage of unskilled labourers – 1 silver coin each, and they commenced work. He came out at 9:00am, 12:00 noon, 3:00pm and 5:00pm respectively and called more labourers for the same purpose, promising to pay them a fair price each, and they all agreed. However, at the closure of work, he called them to collect their pay, beginning from the Latest arrivals. He gave them 1 Silver Coin each, which they gladly collected. On getting to the first set of workers, they expected more but to their utmost dismay, they were equally paid the same amount, and they began to grumble. When asked, they were angry that they were cheated, taking into consideration the long hours of labour they endured under the intense heat of the sun, as against those that put in just one hour. The Master however cautioned them, and reminded them that they were paid the agreed amount. It’s pertinent to clearly state at this juncture that God’s Graces, Mercies and Favours are by no merit of ours. Neither are they received through hard work. They are more or less spiritual gifts which he freely gives in the way and manner he wishes, and to whoever he pleases. Salvation is not the exclusive reserve of any nation, tribe, people, culture or religious affiliations. The length of time we’ve spent working in the Lord’s vineyard, isn’t considered even, hence, we are by no means in the position to decide who gets what, or condemn others. In our daily lives, those who began in the morning can be likened to people born into the Faith. Those who joined later in the day are the converts that we often condemn, but who, more often than not, turn out to be better Christians than ourselves. While those who came last refer to people who gained salvation shortly before their passing away from this earthly life.We all may be likely to get the same reward at the end of time, irrespective of when we began our struggles. Again, the fact that most people were late to the vineyard did not mean that they were lazy or less valued, not at all. Like everyone else, they came out prepared for work early enough, but weren’t lucky to have been hired. As Christians, we must be merciful and compassionate, rather than insist on our rights and being judgemental. Just as we encountered in the first reading (Isaiah 55:8)……”God’s thought are not like Ours, neither are His ways like our ways”It is this same Spirit of brotherly love and solidarity that made St. Paul to write from the Prison (with chains on his hands) to the Philippians, expressing his dilemma for the choice of life or death. Then why did the Owner of the Vineyard decide to start the process of payment from the last group of Labourers?Remember that the last shall be the first…🤷Well, human beings can be very jealous. So such equal payment after unequal work, can be very disheartening. He purposely did that to show;1. the depth of man’s selfless and greed;2. that God’s ways are not our ways, hence, he is not under any obligations to obey natural principles – Reason – He is a Supernatural Being;3. equality of everybody. In heaven there is nothing like VIP and also everybody have his or her time zone. God does not call everybody this same time but will reward everyone that made it to his paradise equally.Was the Owner of the Vineyard Unjust in Rewarding the Labourers???No. He was just. He had an agreement with them earlier and kept it. Just that He was gracious to those who came later.Did the First set of Workers deserve More Pay than what they received?Not really Were they right to grumble? The reason behind their grumbling is lack of contentment. If not they don’t have any right to grumble because the money is not coming from their purse what they would have done is to beg for an increase of their payment.In summary, self righteousness is Sin, particularly among Christians. We ought to emulate the examples of the saints and early Christians, and ask for the grace to understand the will of God in our daily lives so that at the end of our struggles in life, we might behold the beatific vision through Christ our Lord, Amen. God bless you

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