Exodus 16.2-15; Philippians 1.21-30; Matthew 20.1-16 (Oremus)
As I was listening to the Readings this past Sunday, I began to think back on my time in non-profit work. It is very easy to empathize with the Israelites in the wilderness. They have left abundance for what looked a lot like nothing. However, when they looked around, they found that all they needed was close at hand. God provided and it was up to them to see God’s hand at work. That’s how it is for us frequently in non-profit work or in ministries. It is very easy to see how much we don’t have or how much others have but what God asks us to do is look around us in a new way to see what we do have and how we’ve been called to use it. This change in view is often called asset-based community development (ABCD). God calles us to live our individual and common lives out of abundance, not scarcity.
I also got thinking about the gospel reading. It is tempting in Matthew to read the parables about kings and land owners and automatically assume that that character is representing God. If so God can turn out to be fairly terrible sometimes. This weeks parable though made me wonder, what if I were the land owner? One interpretation of this story is that it is calling us to live a generous life with and open heart and open spirit. How do I live, not clutching all of my possessions so tightly that I choke the life out of living, but lightly so that things can come and go freely leaving me free to love fully?
Lastly, I also thought about parties. It can be hard being the first or the last to show up for a party. When we are first, no one is there and the music isn’t going and it is a lot of work to get the fun off the ground. It’s also tempting to look down at others who come later abnd enjoy the awesome time we’ve gotten started. When you’re last, all the food is gone and everything is winding down. The party is over and we’ve missed the best of it. Sometimes, we’re going to be first to the party and sometimes we’re going to be last. It’s easy to think that we’re the first of the party or that were the last of the party. But the truth is most of us are in the middle of the party and we’re going to get to get to enjoy this party for a long time.