Read Matthew 20:1-19

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most amazing natural environments in the world. When our family visited it several years ago we could still see burned, charred trees from the 1988 fires which consumed more than 300,000 acres.

After the fires were finally put out, forest rangers began exploring the damage. National Geographic reported one discovery: a ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched on the ground at the base of a tree. He pushed the dead bird over with a stick. When he did, three tiny chicks ran out from under their dead mother’s wings.

Their mother could have flown to safety but refused to abandon her babies. When the fires arrived and the heat singed her small body, she could have flown away but refused. Because she was willing to die, those under the cover of her wings would live.

You and I live under the shelter of the Almighty, forgiven by his grace. We serve Jesus because he loves us, not so he will. We work for his Kingdom because he has blessed us, not to earn his favor but in gratitude for his grace.

Our text makes this fact clear. In Jesus’ parable, those who worked all day were paid the same amount as those who were employed at the last hour of the day (Matthew 20:1–18). The landowner’s decision to hire the men and to pay them was motivated by grace. God owes us nothing but gives us everything, including his Son’s death for us (vs. 17–19). We can each sing with John Newton, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”

For reflection
What was the last gift you received from your King? Sin forgiven, prayer answered, direction given? How will you respond to such grace?



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