Posted by: Pauline | October 15, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday October 22

Psalm 105

Psalm 105 is one of a number of Scripture passages, especially in the Psalms, that relate highlights from the history of the people of Israel. This history is presented not simply as an account of what happened, as history books today do, nor is there generally any attempt to understand or explain why people acted as they did. Rather, this is an account of God’s acts in human history.

The specific incidents included vary from one passage to another, though they generally focus on God’s deliverance of His people from Egypt. In all of them, the point is not merely to know what God has done, but to praise God for what He has done, trusting that He will continue to act in the lives of His people in every time and place.

Matthew 20:1-16

When we are the ones in great need, we are grateful for generosity that does not depend on the work we have done. But this parable highlights our tendency to focus instead on fairness when we feel we have worked hard and deserve an appropriate reward. To see someone who has done far less receive just as much as us is hard to accept. This is true whether we’re thinking about wages for hours worked, recognition for other kinds of work in the home or community, or divine favor toward those who live good moral lives.

Jesus’ parable makes us uncomfortable because we know it is good to be generous but don’t like it when other people benefit more from generosity than we do. If we were the workers hired first and we were paid twelve times as much as the last hired, as would seem right to us, we might feel generous ourselves and give some charity to those obviously in need. Because, after all, then we would be in control, and we could congratulate ourselves on our unselfish behavior. But we find it much harder to be treated like those whom we feel superior to for having done so much more.


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