Matthew 20:15 Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?
Today’s Gospel passage (Matthew 20:1-16) has nothing to do with workers’ rights, shrewd employers, or salary compensation; it’s all about the grace of God and how He freely and independently chooses to bestow it upon anyone that He selects. Grace belongs to God, so when He blesses someone that we think doesn't deserve it, then we need to ask ourselves this question: who does deserve God’s grace?
Of course, the honest answer to that question is no one deserves God’s grace, otherwise it would simply be a meritorious award or an honorary gift. We all for short of the standards that God expects of us; we all sin on a daily basis, so if God simply gave His grace to those who deserved it, no one would experience or know of God’s grace ever again.
It’s because God is gracious that we can begin again each day with a clean slate. It’s because of God’s grace that we can turn away from our sin and turn toward His love. It’s because of God’s grace that we can live our lives not under the fear of judgment and wrath, but with the joy and gladness that only grace can bring. As the old hymn emphatically states, grace is absolutely amazing!
Perhaps you still feel guilty about something you did in the past, or some wrong that you committed which hurt someone else. Maybe you regret something that you said or did which disappointed God and still makes you feel ashamed. Perhaps you believe that you cannot be forgiven, so all you deserve is God’s wrath and eternal punishment for a horrible sin in your life. To tell you the truth, every Christian feels that way; every church person knows that reality; every follower of Jesus has experienced those kind of faults and failures.
However, because God is gracious and because He wants to give grace, we can all be forgiven and restored, pardoned and accepted of anything and everything that we have ever said or done. There are no limits to God’s grace when we come to Him humbly and sincerely seeking His pardon. When we acknowledge our sinfulness before Him in prayer, He gives to us His grace through Jesus Christ, His Son and our Savior.
Questions for personal reflection
What is the biggest regret in my life? Am I willing to confess it to God, in order to receive His grace?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the instrument of God’s grace and the channel of His mercy. We know that we do not deserve such a wonderful and amazing gift. We thank You for sacrificing Yourself so that we may be given God’s amazing and absolute grace in our sinful lives. In Your Holy Name, we thankfully pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to make a comment or ask questions about today’s message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest Nativity drawing for kids. It’s called “Babushka Nativity.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on this link: Nativity.