Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience. 

Our devotion writers are Luther Seminary alumni. Their reflections are a gift to you and to the church.


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Friday, September 19, 2014

My mother discouraged me from comparing myself to others, but as an awkward teen who always felt inferior, it was hard not to do so. I was constantly seeing if I measured up. "Why can't I have thick hair like Brenda and be funny like Cindy?" Someone once said, "Comparison is the thief of joy," and they were right.

As an adult, I'm doing much better, but jealousy still rears its ugly head now and then. In this parable, comparisons abound. "Why can't I get paid more? Well, at least I got more than he did!" We concern ourselves with what others have and what we don't have. Often I hear things like, "I wish I had her faith." Yet, it isn't the amount of faith we have, but the object of our faith that matters. Constantly comparing ourselves to others—materially, physically or spiritually—robs us of the joy of working for the King, who made us each his treasure.

Dear Lord, help us to celebrate your grace for all people and not to concern ourselves with who is in and who is out. Help us to not compare anything we have or are with another. Amen.

Laurie Neill
Family Life Pastor, First Lutheran Church, Fargo, N.D.
Master of Divinity , 2012

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."

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