by Ken Rolheiser
Eleven o’clock in the Vineyard

Where are we in our lives today as Jesus calls us into his vineyard? Are we still resisting the call? God wants us; all of us. He wants our complete selves.

“If you imagine each of us as a house. How much of the house are we giving to the Lord? A room? Is it in the garage? Does he just have a portion of a room? How much are we giving him? Our challenge in discipleship is to give him the entire house; full access to everything. Now I know that sounds really easy, but it is not so easy to do.
“We all hold onto some rooms in the house. I have been trying for years and I still have some rooms I don't want him to have. I want to hold onto some portion of myself; some form of self-control that I think I have. The Lord is not satisfied until he has everything from us. He wants every room of our house. He wants to move in. He wants it to be his house. That is what he wants from us.” (Father Brendan McGuire “Never Enough”).

In Matthew 20 we read the parable of the vineyard and the workers. At the sixth hour, the nineth hour and the eleventh hour, workers were invited to help with the harvest. At the end of the day the Master summoned all the workers to pay them their wages. He started with the first who had worked all day and paid them the just wage for a day.

When he got to the nineth and eleventh hour workers and paid them a full day’s wage some began to grumble because they had born the day’s heat and worked longer. We can all see their point and the unfairness this situation presents. Jesus wants us to think about this one.

In “The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard” Fr. Hough Duffy describes a farming community in Ireland. The whole family works together to bring in the harvest. The father and older members go out very early, while the younger ones are still asleep. Mom and the children come out later to help.

At the end of the day all sit down to supper. No one suggests that everyone eat only the portion that they earned that day. No one complains or is jealous of what someone else has earned. The values in the family are different than those in society.

So it is in our Christian family. We are called to serve in the vineyard by a God who says, “I am not yet done hiring.” Whether we hear this invitation early in life or as a senior in a care home, God is still hiring.

In a children’s sermon “That’s Not fair” Kristin Schmidt gives bags of goodies to the children. The contents of each bag are different. Some have more or larger treats. She goes on to explain.

Life isn’t fair. We don’t always get what we deserve. Thank goodness! But God gives us all life and salvation. We get mercy and life from Jesus instead of punishment and death for our sins. God is generous to all. At the end of the day we all have the chance to receive it all – the fullness of life!

God is still hiring!

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