Daily Devotion for June 24, 2022
Burnand, who shows the influence of Van Gogh in his technique, captures the emotion on Peter and John’s faces (John 20:3-4) with startling realism. They have been told about the empty tomb by Mary Magdelene, and they hasten through the early morning light in utter amazement and hopefulness.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
I hope, with COVID restrictions starting to ease, that we will be able to see the Soweto Gospel Choir touring again soon!
Kulo thixo omkhulu
Many thanks to “African Gospel Lyrics”
for the Zulu-English translation.
Prayer for the Morning
O Lord, open up a window of heaven,
And lean out far over the battlements of glory,
And listen this morning.
Lord, have mercy on proud and dying sinners—
Sinners hanging over the mouth of hell,
Who seem to love their distance well.
Lord—ride by this morning—
Mount Your milk-white horse,
And ride all this morning—
And in Your ride, ride by old hell,
Ride by the dingy gates of hell,
And stop poor sinners in their headlong plunge.
In the name of Christ, I ask it,
To Love Others
Holy Lord, give me the grace to embody love for others in spite of what they say or do, and to express the sacrificial love of Jesus by treating others in the way Jesus treated me. My confidence is in You, and I will steadfastly hold fast to You rather than wringing my hands over the evils in this generation.
“Act in such a way that your humility may not be weakness, nor your authority be severity.”
~ Gregory the Great (540-604)
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant equip us with every good thing that we may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Proverbs 16:2 (NASB)
But the Lord weighs the motives.
Matthew 20:1-16 (J.B. Phillips NT/NASB)
The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard
or the kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer going out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. He agreed with them on a wage of a silver coin a day and sent them to work. About nine o’clock he went and saw some others standing about in the market-place with nothing to do. ‘You go to the vineyard too,” he said to them, ‘and I will pay you a fair wage.’ And off they went.
At about mid-day and again at about three o’clock in the afternoon he went and did the same thing. Then about five o’clock he went out and found some others standing about. ‘Why are you standing about here all day doing nothing?’ he asked them. ‘Because no one has employed us,’ they replied. ‘You go off into the vineyard as well, then,’ he said.
When evening came the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the and pay them their wages, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ So those who were engaged at five o’clock came up and each man received a silver coin.
But when the first to be employed came they reckoned they would get more, but they also received a silver coin a man. As they took their money they grumbled at the farmer and said, ‘These last fellows have only put in one hour’s work and you’ve treated them exactly the same as us who have gone through all the hard work and heat of the day!’
But he replied to one of them, ‘My friend, I’m not being unjust to you. Wasn’t our agreement for a silver coin a day? Take your money and go home. It is my wish to give the latecomers as much as I give you. May I not do what I like with what belongs to me? Must you be jealous because I am generous?’
So the last shall be first, and the first last.”
Notes on the Scripture
One denarius (a small silver coin) would buy enough wheat to feed a grown man for ten days. It was considered the fair wage for a day of unskilled labor. Unemployed men would, as they do today, congregate at a known location in the morning to create an informal hiring hall for day laborers.
This wonderful parable teaches us the same truth on many different levels. We see first an abstract concept of salvation. The person who is lucky enough to begin his life in a pious family, worshipping God in early childhood and living his entire life in the faith and fear of God, will be granted the same salvation as a person who comes to Christ late in life with his whole heart. When we lay up our treasure in heaven, we are not paid by the hour. It is the sincerity and enthusiasm of our repentance that counts, not how early in life we come to it.
More topically, there is a message for disciples to remember. They are the first, but that does not mean that they are superior to those who will come later. Pitiful human vanity teaches us to try to turn seniority into superiority. For instance, people who have been living in a place for a long time, especially if they grew up there are “natives”, almost invariably lord it over people who move there as adults. But first in time does not mean first in line, Jesus teaches.
The same message applies to the Jews. They have been, at this point, God’s chosen people for over a thousand years, the only humans on earth who know and worship the one true God. Soon, they will have to accept the Gentiles; and they will be expected to remember the parable, and not take an attitude that they are first-class Christians and the Gentiles, second-class. The Jews will not be the bosses of the Gentiles (at least in the eyes of God).
The concept of salvation is comfort to the afflicted and lost. Evangelism, once Christ has departed, will be “join me,” not “follow me.” Our salvation does not puff us up. We seek to share, not to find foot soldiers so that we can be sergeants. The pastor of a megachurch is no more than the newest convert in the eyes of God.