Sunday, September 21, 2014

Laborers for the Vineyard

Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, `You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o'clock, he did the same. And about five o'clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, `Why are you standing here idle all day?' They said to him, `Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, `You also go into the vineyard.' When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, `Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.' When those hired about five o'clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 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 the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?' So the last will be first, and the first will be last." Matthew 20:1-16

 It has been a wonderful and full day here in Taipei. I was blessed to attend the cathedral with other bishops and to enjoy the incredible warmth and welcome of the people. Bishop David Lai presided and Presiding Bishop Katharine preached. It was a wonderful experience and I learned a good deal more about the church here. We learn about the challenges they ha ve and how they thrive despite of those challenges, being a tiny minority in this country and often rejected by family for being Christian.

God invites us to be laborers in the field, despite the challenges we might experience. We might be
torn up by the cost of following Christ or we may be reluctant because of the hardships. We are called to accept the wages we have been given and get on with serving others from the heart of God. The people here have demonstrated that despite the challenges, God is always providing more than enough and joy overflowing.

Today as our day comes to a close I ask God to help make me ready for the tasks ahead with joy. May we not worry about the cost nor the pay, but readily run to the place where we are called,  amongst the people, ready to labor for others. May we be known by God's love and joy where ever we go.

The Collect
Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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