Pray: To open your time together.
Read: Matthew 20:1-16
Consider: Some thoughts for your group
Grace is scandalous. In our reading today, Jesus is speaking to a group of religious leaders who are challenging him about his practice and teaching on the Kingdom of God. A crowd has gathered and are listening in on the conversation. Jesus, as he so often does, uses a story to get his point across. In the story there are several groups of workers who have been hired to labor in a vineyard. Some have been working all day, others have only been at it for an hour. At payment time, the master gives each of them the same wage, regardless of the hours they worked. Scandalous.
Responding to the outcry of injustice from the day-long laborers, the master replies, “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” (verse 15). What is Jesus getting at here?
Does God have the right to deal out grace as He sees fit? Do we enjoy God’s grace for ourselves, but resent it for others? Our current cultural climate is anything but grace-filled. Where there is a wrong, it must be made right. And making things right always comes at a cost. There is no shortcut in the equation of justice. But God is justice. He decides the outcome and what we learn in scripture through the life of Jesus is that God is full of grace. Scandalous grace.
Put yourself in the place of the day long laborers. What do you think of the generous master as he pays everyone the same wage? What feelings are connected to how you think about the situation?
Put yourself in the place of the one hour laborers. What do you think of the generous master? What feelings are present while He hands you a full days wage that you didn’t earn?
To which of these two experiences do you most relate? How does this story shape your view of God and His Kingdom?
How can you embody the kind of generous living that Jesus describes in the Master of the story? What might generous, scandalous grace look like in your everyday life?
Spend some time praying for one another. Remind one another in prayer that God’s generous grace through faith in Jesus is for every person present, regardless of their past. Praise God for His love and grace over us. Pray that we, as Jesus-followers, would live grace-filled lives in our world.