Students sitting outside Bockman
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Friday, September 22, 2017

I know of a man, whose two grown children hated each other. They lived emotionally and physically "cut off" for years, each convinced their father loved and rewarded the other better all through life. They had determined how their father should parcel out love. They quit coming to reunions, family vacations, even funerals where the other would be there. They were scandalized because of a father's love that didn't calculate rightly in their own hearts and minds. In the meantime, someone talked to them about the scandalous nature of God's love, which may not conform to our rules. They began to see their father and each other differently. Only after the father died--in fact at the graveside committal service--did they make amends to each other. But when they did, everyone rejoiced. The life-killing legalism was lifted, and love won the day.

Help us, Lord, to be less calculating about who gets what, and more open to your generous spirit. For Christ’s sake and the sake of the gospel. Amen.

Bishop Tom Aitken, '85
Bishop of Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA

Matthew 20:1-16 (NRSV)

1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
2 After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 When he went out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace;
4 and he said to them, "You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' So they went.
5 When he went out again about noon and about three o'clock, he did the same.
6 And about five o'clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, "Why are you standing here idle all day?'
7 They said to him, "Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, "You also go into the vineyard.'
8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, "Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.'
9 When those hired about five o'clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage.
10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage.
11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner,
12 saying, "These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.'
13 But he replied to one of them, "Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you.
15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?'
16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.