Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Laborers in the Vineyard

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.” Matthew 20:1-16

Laborers in the Vineyard

I will admit I look
at all you have and feel
jealousy creeping over me
like summer warmth I am
human and wish for more
than my meager wage.

The sun beats down
been hear all day long
from mornings' first light
through the high noon burn
bending and cutting
sometimes bleeding for the cause
and you waltz in cool and calm
and take your full wages.

We work hard and expect more
laboring daily pushing ourselves
we taste dirt and bugs all day
feel the stares as folks drive by
wincing through darkened glass
dry and cold in their good
air conditioned command centers.

We are called to labor for God
the days are long and grueling
the rewards nebulous and vanishing
but we are here and we continue
growing good gifts in rough earth
planting better lives in broken glass
hiding victims from abuse
making a road for the directionless
on our knees at night praying
on our knees at day too.

I know the sting of jealousy
and yet God is the balm for all
we know the searing pain of loss
and God mends all the scars and tears
we are laborers in love's vineyard
we are loved beyond measure
the burning sun and baking soil
temporary companions on the road
to heaven's door.

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