Read thru the New Testament 2018
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids
Bible Reading: Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus is telling a story about some guys who had a bad attitude in order to teach the disciples something. He was teaching them about grace. Some people came to work “early in the morning”. Others came around 9:00am, some around noon, some around 3:00pm, and the last bunch showed up around 5:00pm. Now, our attention is focused on them. Especially the ones who came early and were disgruntled because they thought that they should be paid more than the ones who came later…especially those guys that showed up just before quitting time. But I want you to think about something. They all got paid. But here is the sad part. Don’t miss it. Some didn’t come at all. And they didn’t get paid.
Now, this is a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven. And Jesus uses a very common incident in daily life to illustrate it. You’ve got to use your brain here or you will get confused thinking that these men got paid…but grace is free?? How does that compute? It’s a parable. And one of the methods of interpreting a parable is to realize that its purpose is to make a point, to teach something specific…and to stay on point when studying it. Don’t venture from the main concept, the main point. If you do, you can almost be guaranteed that you will become confused and get lost in some misinterpretation. So, back to the parable. He’s teaching about grace. God’s unmerited favor. This is not a lesson in economics. The point is not really whether some men got paid more than others. The point is that everyone got paid…whether they came early, or late. The first group of men were exactly right when they said, “you have made them equal to us” (:12). That’s it. Yes. You got it. In matters of God’s grace…no one deserves it more than anyone else…no matter how long, or how hard you have worked for it. It’s grace and it cannot be earned…or unearned. That’s the point of the parable
But again…there is more to the lesson on grace. It is the lump of gold that is buried deeper in the sand. Here it is: some didn’t come, at all. Grace was theirs to receive. The landowner would have given it to them right up until the very last second of the day. But they never came. What does that mean? Well, if this is a parable about how we receive God’s grace in order to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven…then those who don’t receive it…won’t go to Heaven.
It’s late at night as I am writing this devotional. I’m sitting here at my computer and my heart is breaking. And once again tears are running down my cheeks. Because I know that I have family and friends who have never received God’s grace. And I know that without God’s grace… I’ve got to stop. I’ve got to pray. For my loved ones. Maybe you should, too.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
A woman from California couldn’t decide if she wanted to buy tickets to enter a $360 million lottery, or not. She went back and forth, back and forth. Finally, she bought five tickets at a local gas station. The next morning she watched the news on television and discovered that she had won. However, when she turned her tickets in they told her that she had bought her tickets 1 hour too late. She had waited too long.
A man in New York City was rushed to the hospital. At the time, there were several very serious emergencies. The first doctor who looked at the man said that his injury was low-risk. So, they had him wait in a room while they took care of the high-risk patients, first. However, the doctor had misdiagnosed the man’s injuries and by the time they got too him he was paralyzed and there was nothing they could do to help him. They had waited too long.
A while back, a group of 222 people from 28 different countries tried to set a world record by skydiving out of several airplanes at the same time and then connecting together into a formation that looked like a giant snowflake. They fell towards the earth at speeds over 100 mph. They had 70 seconds to connect in the formation before they had to separate and open their parachutes. But one woman waited too late. She fell too long before she opened her parachute and when it did not open correctly it did not give her backup parachute time to open. She died when she hit the ground. She had waited too long.
A group of tourists was visiting Niagara Falls. They watched as the water from the river flowed faster and faster…finally tumbling over the falls to the bottom 167 feet below. The sound was deafening as the water crashed onto the rocks. Then, their attention was drawn to a beautiful bald eagle. He had landed on a piece of ice floating down the river. His piercing eyes scanned the water upriver for a fish. With a flap of his majestic wings he would launch himself into the sky and then dive down…grabbing the fish in his long talons. The tourists noticed that the piece of ice was getting closer and closer to the edge of the falls. But they weren’t worried…the great bird would just flap his wings and fly off before the ice went over the falls. And that was exactly what it did. Or, at least what it tried to do. You see, the eagle had sat on the ice for so long…that the water around its feet had frozen. And now, no matter how hard he beat his wings…he could not get off the ice. The tourists watched in anguish as the ice and the great bird plummeted over the falls and crashed onto the rocks below. The eagle had waited too long.
Jesus once told a parable that illustrates that we are able to go to Heaven when we receive God’s grace. When God freely gives us His forgiveness…without our doing anything to earn it…it is called grace. There is nothing that we can do to earn, or deserve God’s forgiveness of our sin. It is only by God’s grace. In the parable, there was a man who owned a lot of land. Some of the people that worked for him had worked all day long. Others, only worked a little, and others almost none at all. At the end of the day, the landowner paid them all the same amount. The point of the parable is that no matter how much we work…how good we are, how much money we give to the church, how nice we are to other people…God still gives His grace to all of us the same way…free. No one deserves it more than anyone else.
There is a sad thought that is part of this parable. There were more people in town that could have gone to work that day. But they didn’t. So, they didn’t get paid. Remember, in this parable, Jesus is teaching about how God freely gives us His grace so that we can go to Heaven. If we don’t receive His grace…then we don’t go to Heaven. There were people that day who didn’t go to work. In the parable, Jesus showed that even though people waited until late in the day to come to work…they still got paid. I mean, they could have waited until 30 minutes before quitting time…10 minutes…1 minute…5 seconds…and they would have still been paid. That’s grace. It doesn’t matter how long, or how hard, you’ve worked…because it’s free. But here is the sad part. You can wait too long. What is too long? After life is over. After life is over, after a person has died…there isn’t another chance to accept God’s grace. You’ve got to be careful here. The point of the parable is not that you can wait until the absolute last minute and still receive God’s grace and go to Heaven. The point is that everybody gets into Heaven the same way…God’s grace. But there is a danger. We may think, “Well, I’ll just wait until I’m older. Then I will receive God’s grace.” But the danger is that we don’t know how much older we’re going to get…how long we’re going to live. I hope we all live long, long lives. But we don’t know for sure how long we will live. So…is it worth it to risk not knowing God, not having a relationship with God, and not going to Heaven…by waiting until later to receive God’s grace? No, not at all! Don’t wait. Accept Jesus as your Savior, today! I have. And one day, when I die, I will go to Heaven. No doubt about it. I have been praying for you since before you were ever born that you would receive Jesus as your Savior while you are young. That way you will live with the blessing of God’s grace and the hope of Heaven your entire life. Oh, and one more thing. That way, no matter what happens in this life on this earth…one day we will surely be together, again, in Heaven. We’re going to have a great time together, in Heaven. I’ll see you there!
Love you more than bunches and bunches,