Everyday we are in some sort of line. When we commute to work we sit in lines of never ending traffic. We queue up to buy our first, or second cup of coffee. And, if you have been to a sporting event, concert or your kid’s school play, there is inevitably a line for the bathroom. Our society is ruled by fake velvet ropes that traverse us back and forth until we reach some destination.
So, do you think you’re judged by where you are in line?
I guess it depends on what you’re doing, where you are in the line, and why you are there in the first place. Also, should we expect something for our patience, or should we be willing to give something once we reach the end of a line?
Matthew talks about this a little, when he relates a parable by Jesus. In essence, a vineyard owner hires people throughout the day to work in his fields for a day’s wage. At the end of the workday, he pays the workers that he hired last, first…and at the same wage as the workers that have been toiling all day in his field. They are lined up and told that the last will go first and the first will go last. (Matthew 20:1-16)
Can you imagine what the guy at the end of the line, who had been breaking his back in the hot sun all day, thought about this arrangement? I can.
Can you also imagine what the first guy was thinking? I can too.
What about the guy in the middle? Is he just happy to be there, and wants the guy behind him to pipe down? I don’t know?
What I do know is that, after tossing this scripture around at our bible study this morning, it really got me thinking about where I was in God’s line.
Am I last? Am I in the middle? What do I have to do to move up or down in the line? I really don’t know where I am in His line. These questions concerned me as I sat in a line of traffic.
And then, as I tried to put myself in the minds of all the characters of this parable, it hit me. This ‘daily wage’ that the workers were waiting on was not money, or things, or cups of coffee. It was God’s grace.
I had missed it at first, but God’s grace is central to my beliefs and my worship; and that was the missing piece. Here it is.
God’s grace, or ‘daily wage’, is given through worship, or a ‘day’s work’.
Every Sunday, I kneel with my fellow Christians, hold out my hands and receive the Sacraments of Christ. And you know what, we’re in a line…not a line of depth and length, but a line of equality. We are left to right and right to left, all receiving the same ‘day’s wage’ of Christ’s sacrifice for us.
Christ has already waited in the line for us. His line was a means to an end. His line showed us the way. Like we Christian’s stretch out along the altar rail, so did Christ stretch out his arms and accept us through His actions.
I challenge you to read that scripture today, or tonight and ask yourself some of the same questions. See what you come up with.
So, back to my original concern…where am I in line with God?
Thanks to Christ, I think I am in front, with you, and everyone else. Not bad for a ‘day’s work.’
G. Allen Mercer is an author with a ‘heart on fire’ to write about God’s grace in a factual and fiction genre.
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