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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Thursday, October 15, 2015
Today’s scripture reading:
Jesus further clarified the membership rules of the Kingdom of Heaven: Entrance is by God’s grace alone. In this parable, God is the owner of the estate, and believers are the workers. This parable speaks especially to those who feel superior because of heritage or position, to those who feel superior because they have spent so much time with Christ, and to new believers as reassurance of God’s grace.
This parable is not about rewards but about salvation. It is a strong teaching about grace, God’s generosity. We shouldn’t begrudge those who turn to God in the last moments of life, because, in reality, no one deserves eternal life.
Many people we don’t expect to see in the Kingdom will be there. The criminal who repented as he was dying will be there along with people who have believed and served God for many years. Do you resent God’s gracious acceptance of the despised, the outcast, and the sinners who have turned to him for forgiveness? Have you ever been jealous of what God has given to another person? Instead, focus on God’s gracious benefits to you, and be thankful for what you have. (NLT)
Matthew 20:1-16 – [Jesus said] “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the owner of an estate who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work.
“At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. At noon and again around three o’clock he did the same thing. At five o’clock that evening he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’
“They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’
“The owner of the estate told them, ‘Then go on out and join the others in my vineyard.’
“That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. When those hired earlier came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. When they received their pay, they protested. ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’
“He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take it and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be angry because I am kind?’
“And so it is, that many who are first now will be last then; and those who are last now will be first then.”
Sherry Stout-Stewart (North Carolina) titled her story “WELL DONE;” here is a portion of Sherry’s story:
“My father was diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly before I left home to attend college. When the time came for me to leave I felt scared and burdened. I prayed many prayers for him to accept Christ as his Savior and to be healed. Two years later, my father lost his battle with kidney cancer.
“. . . Shortly before my father passed away, he accepted Christ as his Savior.
“Recently, while reading Matthew 20, I recognized my father’s story in it. The meaning of this parable was suddenly deeper and more profound. My father was like the last workers hired. His acceptance of Christ came late in his life, but I know that the Savior joyfully received him.”
Prayer: Dear God, help us to understand your word, to apply it to our lives, and to keep it in our hearts. Amen.
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
For more Helpful Inspirational Material:
SUFFERING, SUFFER: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/suffering-suffer/
GUILT, GUILTY: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/guilt-guilty/
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