(Jesus said) "Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity? So the last will be first, and the first last." Matthew 20:15-16
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our international ministry centers to write our Sunday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
It doesn't make any sense to us.
It doesn't make sense that a person who came early in the morning and worked all day would end up getting the same pay as a person who came late in the evening and worked for one hour.
It is quite unfair to human eyes, but God sees things differently than we do.
God sees differently because He thinks differently, and we should add, He loves differently -- better than we do.
Consider the Lord didn't reduce the daily pay of the workers who had come to work earlier in the day. He gave them what He had promised, and He gave the same daily wage to the late-comers as well.
So it seems, until you understand in Jesus' day many people, especially the unskilled laborers, lived from hand-to-mouth. When the vineyard owner promised a day's wage, he was making sure the workers he hired early in the day would be able to provide adequate food for themselves and their families. But if he had reduced the wages proportionately for time worked, those who were hired later in the day would not have enough for themselves or their families.
Now you may understand why the owner who knew the circumstances of His workers acted generously. His is a generous action, which is reflected in this modern-day story.
The story begins with a man being allowed to visit heaven. He tried to look up an old friend whom he was sure had gone to heaven. He was shocked to find this man's soul was not there. He was equally shocked to find another soul, a soul he had been sure was destined for hell, was walking the golden streets.
Shocked, the man asked, "How did you get in here?"
The soul replied, "I'm not sure!" He continued: "I had been a great sinner all through life. One day, shortly before I died, I met a pastor and he told me about Jesus, and the Holy Spirit called me to be a Christian. I died and woke up here. As a result, I continuously thank God for what He has done."
Having heard this witness, our man traveled to hell. There he encountered the fellow whom he had expected to be in heaven. Seeing the lost soul's pain, he inquired, "Why are you suffering here like this?"
The soul answered, "Actually, I had been in heaven, but I saw it was filled with prostitutes, robbers and cheaters. I got angry at how God was treating those sinners, so I came here."
Of course, the story is fiction. We dare not judge God's love by our poor standards, nor should we think once we are in heaven we can opt to go to hell.
On the other hand, we ought to admit nobody is deserving of receiving anything from the Lord. It is His grace, not our work, which brings salvation. Our work is only a poor thank You for what we have received from His mercy and grace.
THE PRAYER: Lord, we would like to give thanks for the Savior who has rescued us. May I point others to the salvation Jesus has won through His life, death and resurrection. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by the Rev. Park Ju-Young. He is a pastor of Woori Lutheran Church and serves as supervisor at the Talitha Koum House. (Talitha Koum is a healing center.) At present he serves as the Korean Lutheran Hour broadcasting speaker.
Since reopening in 2003, the Lutheran Hour Ministries center in South Korea has been working to spread the Gospel and create a youthful vibrancy within the church. The Christian resources produced by our ministry in Korea are valuable evangelistic tools that incorporate Korean traditions. Its youth programs, including Project JOEL, retreats, and music festivals are making positive inroads with younger audiences. Theater events sponsored by our center, as well as seasonal television specials and Advent and Lenten devotions, provide opportunities for non-Christians to connect with Christians and local Lutheran congregations. Our ministry in Korea, by collaborating with the Korea Lutheran Church, is also taking steps to spread the Gospel in North Korea and China.
You can visit LHM-Korea's blog by clicking here.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhm.org/international.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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