Aunt Beverly by Kathy McBroom 2008

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 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?’ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ 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.’ The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 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.’ But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matthew 20:1-16
We live in a “me” society with everyone always wanting to be first and to be the best. There is nothing wrong with excellence, but there is something wrong with being selfish. Jesus in this parable of the vineyard workers illustrates a new thought. As Jesus states in Matthew 20:16, “The first will be last, and the last will be first”. I think He wants us to see that the mind of God is not like the mind of man at all. His thinking is foreign to us. He illustrates this boldly by sending His Son as a baby, born to a carpenter and his young wife. In this parable, the men who worked all day feel they deserve more than those who worked only for one hour. But in God’s kingdom, we do not get what we deserve, praise God! We deserve Hell. We also do not work our way into heaven; we are saved by grace. This parable has in it so much, which I think is God’s design. As I read this parable, I think of my Aunt Beverly. She was an alcoholic for twenty-two years, losing everything to the bottle. In high school I can remember her showing up at family gatherings smelling of alcohol. I detested the fact that she told me once that I was a lot like her. No way would that ever become a self-fulfilling prophecy! About four or five years before her death, she became a Christian. She truly became a new creation as 2 Corinthians 5 speaks of in verse 17;”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” She sent a card to me shortly after her decision, telling me that she always knew that there was something different about me; now she knew what it was. I’ll treasure that card forever, but more than that she has become my hero. I cannot fathom the miracle that God did in her, and I cannot wait to see her again someday. She only spent a short part of her life furthering the kingdom of God, but I know she touched many lives in those last years of her life. She deserves all the glory of heaven, just like as one who has spent forty years in the ministry. I’m glad God does not think like we think. Pray today thanking God that we do not get what we deserve; we get so much more.

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