While it was pointed out in a comment here on the blog that Jesus never really used the word “grace” in his recorded teachings in the New Testament it is clear that the concept of grace characterizes much of his teachings. One place it shows up with regularity is in the parables. I want to mention four parables that teach us about God’s grace, each in a separate post.
The Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16)
You know the story. A landowner goes out and hires some men to work in his vineyard. The men worked with the expectation of getting paid a day’s wage. The landowner went out every couple of hours and hired more men telling them he would pay them “whatever is right.” At the end of the day the landowner pays the last men to arrive. He hands them each a day’s wage. The men who got there first start thinking, “if those latecomers got a day’s wage he is certain to pay us more.” But they were wrong. When the time came for the owner to pay the first men to arrive they also received a day’s wage…it was what they had been promised. They were not too happy and started raising a stink about how unfair he was being to them. The landowner can do whatever he sees fit and treat people with grace and mercy. God’s economy runs counter to our own…God’s economy is one of grace and generosity. That is hard to digest in a world that is run on capitalism. I don’t know about you but I sure am glad I don’t receive what I deserve. God is good and the parable of the workers in the vineyard highlights God’s generosity and reminds us that we should be willing to recognize that none of us really deserved to be on the job except that He was the one who did the picking/hiring.
How have you seen God show mercy in your life?
What do you have that you don’t deserve and have you found ways to give God credit for being so merciful to you?
Do you ever expect that God should treat you different than other people? Do we sometimes suffer from a spirit of entitlement or have the thought that God shouldn’t choose anyone but us?
How can we show grace to others so that God’s grace can shine through us?