The Last Will Be First

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You don’t have to spend much time at all around little children before you hear one of their favorite phrases: “That’s not fair!” Fairness is one of our strongest sensibilities from the time we are very young. And from the time we are very young, we measure fairness by comparing ourselves to others. What do they get, and what do we get? This is universal with mankind, and it is one of the greatest causes of conflict among people in every context. It is one of the greatest causes resentment toward others and toward God. This is just as true in the church as it is in the world. But that is not the way it should be. That is why Jesus tells the parable of vineyard laborers, where those who work only the last hour of the day get paid first and receive the same as those who work all day (Mat 20.1-16). Jesus is cutting right across our system of fairness, but he isn’t doing it they way we typically think. As in other parables, such as the unprofitable servant in Luke 17.7-10, Jesus is seeking to shock us awake to the fact that as God’s children, we are not on a wage system at all. What we receive is not a wage, it is an inheritance. I hope you enjoy the sermon. Thanks for listening. —Alan Burrow* From the time we are very little, one of our strongest sensibilities is what?* How do we measure it?* What is the result for mankind and the church?* What is Jesus trying to do in this parable?* How does Jesus go about doing that?* Who represents our sense of fairness in the parable?* Who are the vineyard laborers?* Who are the later workers hired in the parable?* What is different about what the landowner promises them?* What does that imply?* Why does the landowner give all the workers the same thing?* Why do the first workers resent that?* How do we fit in to this parable?* How are we different?* How are we the same?* What do we receive from God?* Can anyone take that away?* Can it be lost, and if so, how?* What does this mean for each of us?* How are these lessons seen in the lives of Peter and the apostles?* What else does a good father give his children?* What does the Father reward?* As workers in God’s vineyard, what is our job?* What is the paradox involved in doing that job?

Click the play button to listen to 'The Last Will Be First' by Alan Burrow.