Matthew 20:1-16 (NIV)

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. 3 “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went. “He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6 About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ 7 ” ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ 8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ 9 “The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These men 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.’ 13 “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Matthew 20:15 (NRSV)

The landowner said, “Are you envious because I am generous?”

DEVOTION – Kimberly Long (Texas)

In our reading for today, Jesus tells of a man who hired different workers at different times of the day: morning, noon, and evening.  When it was time for the works to receive the wages promised to them, those who had worked all day were upset that those who came later were paid just as much as they.  The employer told them he had done no wrong, that he paid each one what he had promised.

So what caused these all-day workers to be upset?  They compared their situations to someone else’s.  If they had not compared, they would not have been dissatisfied.

Sometimes, looking at others’ lives, I become dissatisfied because theirs looks richer and fuller than mine.  Maybe they have the kinds of relationships that I long for.  Or maybe they have luxuries that seem unattainable to me.  When we compare ourselves to someone else, we may end up feeling better than that person, which can fill us with pride; or we may end up feeling worse, which can fill us with insecurity and jealousy.

The parable we read today teaches us that focusing on what others have or do not have leaves us feeling empty.  If we focus instead on the goodness of God and how trustworthy and wonderful God is, we will find that the spiritual life offers riches beyond comparison.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Looking to God makes us spiritually rich.

PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, help us to trust that you will sustain us.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: To Let Go Of Jealousy