Thursday, November 8, 2012 "But many who are first will be last, and the last first. For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.' And they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, 'Why have you been standing here idle all day?' They said to him, 'Because no one hired us.' He said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.' So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, 'Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.' And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received it, they murmured against the landlord, saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.' But he answered one of them and said, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?' So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen" (Matthew 19:30 - 20:16). IDEA: The goodness of God can be a tripwire to Christians. PURPOSE: To help listeners understand that everyone receives justice and all of us receive different kinds of goodness from God. Did you learn any prayers to say before you ate your food? What was the theology behind the prayer you prayed? I. Most of us feel we respond well to God's goodness. How do we feel when we get an unexpected bonus, or a raise, or get an A on an exam that we thought we flubbed? Is our reaction always thanks? Listen to this story Jesus told in Matthew 20:1-16. How do you think each of the group of workers felt when they were hired that day? II. Why do you think these workers who might have been thankful began to grumble against the owner? Did any of them get less than they were promised? Did the first group suffer in any way because of the generosity of the owner to the last groups that were hired? What was the source of their anger at the owner of s e vineyard? Was it valid? Is it possible that the goodness of God to other Christians can be a source of irritation in me? Irritation against God? How do we feel when we see God do something out of the ordinary for a friend or a colleague? Isn't it possible that when I think of God's goodness to others. I may fail to see God's goodness to me? Worse, I accuse God in my heart of injustice and unfairness. I need to concentrate on what God has done for me.