January 18 – Gospel Readthrough – Matthew 20

Read Matthew 20:1-34

Track and Field is a great sport and our oldest sport, in fact. It is an individual sport but it is also a team sport. The sportsmanship, respect and attitude among competitors is admirable. Go to a track meet sometime and you will see enthusiasm, commitment, hard work, victory and disappointment.

Just like life.

The most exciting aspect in all of sports is the state championships in Ohio, boys or girls. I recently was watching the state championship in the sport of Track and Field – the 400-meter hurdle event. A young man was winning the race, running to cross the finish line as the winner and then he tripped on the last hurdle and landed on his face. By the time he got up and crossed the finish line, he finished last. He went from first to last in several heartbeats.

Just like life.

When you participate in a sport, there are no guarantees. Sometimes games and events go well and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes it just isn’t fair. I’ve seen it many times in many sports.

A parable is a heavenly story with an earthly meaning. Matthew 20 and the parable of the workers in the vineyard is a relevant parable. People say life isn’t fair. I’ve heard it many times. We have to accept the fact that life sometimes isn’t fair here on earth. The consequences of the Covid pandemic have been really unfair to a lot of people. 

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”Matthew 20:16

The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who started his day by hiring men to work for him for a denarius (the usual daily wage). Around 9:00 AM he hired some people to work. At about noon he hired more people to work. About 3:00 PM he hired some more people to work. At 5:00 PM he hired even more people to work.

In the evening when the day was done, he paid everybody for the work they had done. He paid everybody the exact same amount of money. Then some people began to grumble to the landowner because they worked more hours than the other people and they all were paid the same amount of money. They could have said, “That’s not fair.”

‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?’”Matthew 20:12-13

These verses also refer to salvation. The extraordinary generosity and grace of God, who gives to those who enter the kingdom last the same blessings that He gives to everybody else.

What are some ways in which you are thankful for the generous gift God has given you? What are some ways that you can spread that gift to others?

Tom Weckesser

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