Thursday, January 28, 2021

Capstone or Cornerstone


Hey! My Bible says Capstone not cornerstone.  Who is the architect here?

 If we go to the original Greek, we might find that chief stone would be an excellent translation and interpretation.  It’s not the placement in the architect’s drawing, but the importance of how everything is connected through this stone.

 Consider the definitions from Strong’s Concordance.

 The STONE the builders rejected

 lithos: a stone

Original Word: λίθος, ου, ὁ
Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Transliteration: lithos
Phonetic Spelling: (lee'-thos)
Definition: a stone
Usage: a stone; met: of Jesus as the chief stone in a building.


Has become the CORNERSTONE.  The word corner stone is not in the original Greek.  The words are chief corner.

kephalé: the head

Original Word: κεφαλή, ῆς, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Transliteration: kephalé
Phonetic Spelling: (kef-al-ay')
Definition: the head
Usage: (a) the head, (b) met: a corner stone, uniting two walls; head, ruler, lord.

 gónia: an angle, a corner

Original Word: γωνία, ας, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Transliteration: gónia
Phonetic Spelling: (go-nee'-ah)
Definition: an angle, a corner
Usage: a corner; met: a secret place.


As we continue through the New Testament, we see that Christ is also our foundation.  He is Lord.  He and putting his words into practice are the solid rock upon which we build.

On Christ the solid rock I stand.  All other ground is sinking sand.

Let’s think chief stone when you hear cornerstone or capstone.

Matthew 21 - Part 6


Read Matthew 21

Most of the time, I challenge you not to make a parable allegorical.  This one is an exception.  It does not teach a lesson or the ways of the kingdom of heaven so much as it prophesies what took place and is taking place in God’s creation.

A landowner—God—planted a vineyard—creation (Eden or the Promised Land in narrow context)—and then rented it out to some farmers—humanity (Chosen People in narrow context). 

Rent was to be paid in fruit not cash.  When it was time to collect, the landowner sent his servants—prophets—to collect.  They killed them.

This whole all about me thing was hard to give up.

The landowner sent more servants—prophets.  They rejected them and killed them as well.

Finally, the landowner sent his son—Jesus—but they killed him as well.

“But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’  So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.”

So, when the landowner—God—comes to the vineyard, what do you think will happen?”

He will bring those wicked renters to a terrible end—judgment and wrath. But that’s not the end of the story.  He will rent the vineyard to those who will pay their rent—repentant sinners.

Jesus challenged the hypocrites again with scripture they should have known.  They may not have understood its context, but they should have known the scripture.

“‘The stone the builders rejected

    has become the cornerstone;

the Lord has done this,

    and it is marvelous in our eyes.’”

Who is the stone that the builders rejected?  It is the Son of God.  Jesus is the cornerstone of our relationship with God in this age.  We still have Commandments, the Law of Moses, the words of the prophets, psalms and proverbs, and the history of God’s relationship with humankind; but going forward, Christ Jesus is where it all begins, and connects, and becomes complete for us.

The one that the religious hypocrites rejected is the foundational stone for our lives that bring glory to God. What will we build?

Listen to the words of Jesus as he continued his admonishment of the religious hypocrites.

“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.  Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  He is the way to the Father.  Jesus is the gate.  We come into the kingdom of heaven through Christ alone.  All other ways lead to destruction.

Do your Bibles have subheadings?  These can be helpful sometimes.  I think that there should have been a subhead inserted between verses 44 and 45.  The subhead should read:  Lightbulb Moment.

The hypocrites had an epiphany.  He is talking about us!

They wanted to arrest him, but the people thought he was a prophet.  This was not a decision of theology or righteousness.  It was pure politics.  The people think this guy is a prophet.  What would they do to us if we arrested him?

Jesus had told his disciples three times without metaphor that he would be handed over to these hypocrites, ridiculed and beaten, and that he would die on a cross even while those who would condemn him were figuring out how to do it.

OBTW—he also noted that he would be raised from the dead.  The cross, the tomb, death would not have the final word.

What do we take from this scripture that we have explored today?

Here’s an easy one:  Don’t be a hypocrite.  When we get to chapter 23, I will likely remind all of us not to be a hypocrite or a Pharisee.

What else?

Christ is the cornerstone.  Of what?

Everything! Without him, whatever we build will be incomplete.  Without him, there is no glory in our good deeds.  Without him we have rejected God the Father.

The religious hypocrites rejected Jesus.  They knew the law and the prophets, the psalms and the proverbs, they knew the Torah, but they did not know the divine heart of God.

They knew what sacrifices and feasts and festivals were prescribed but they did not know mercy.

The tax collectors and prostitutes would come to know the mercy and favor of God before they would abandon their religion and rituals. 

The cornerstone given to us is Christ Jesus and he brings us to right relationship with God the Father and opens the door for God’s own Spirit to dwell within us.

Without him we face wrath and punishment.  Without him we decline to know the love of our God who is love and desires mercy above any ritual. 

Without him, we are hypocrites when we claim to know God. 

There are at least a dozen, probably a hundred new causes and programs that took hold in 2020.  Some may have been around for a while before then but received little notice.

Those that beckon you to follow but do not desire to bring glory to God through relationship with Christ Jesus are more likely to be just another Tower of Babel than something that will produce good fruit.

Christ is the cornerstone.  Of what?

I said everything earlier.  Now narrow your focus.  He is the cornerstone of your life and your right relationship with God.

I pray that he is the cornerstone for the lives of your family.

I pray that he is the cornerstone of everyone who is frustrated with the world trying to do what is right.  We should expect the world—the godless world—to behave as it does.  This should not surprise us.

But navigating our lives is different.  Christ is our foundation and our cornerstone for everything that we build.  Christ came to serve not to be served.  That is our model.

He is the way, the truth, and the life and leads us to the Father.  If you truly want to know God, know his Son who is the cornerstone that the builders rejected.

Do not reject him.  Do not deny him before men.  Receive him as Lord and get ready for the marvelous things that will follow.

Ok, we have been focused on pursuing the things of God in 2021.

We began with love mercy.

We challenged ourselves with a question. Are we rich towards God?

We are challenged to covet less and be generous.  Generosity is the currency in the kingdom of heaven.

And now, make sure that Christ is the cornerstone in your life.  Though the world may still reject him, he is the cornerstone in your life.

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.  The Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes!

Know with certainty that Christ is the cornerstone in your life.

Have no doubt that Christ is the cornerstone in your life.

Jesus is Lord.  Make sure he is Lord in your life!

Let everything that you do proceed from your relationship with Christ.

He is your Lord.  He is your foundation. He is at the center of your life. He is your cornerstone.

Let your whole life be built upon your relationship with Christ Jesus!


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Matthew 21 - Part 5


Read Matthew 21

A man had two sons—yes, this is the beginning of a parable.  He told one to go work in the vineyard, but he said that he would not.  Later he changed his mind and did what his father told him.

The father told his other son to go work in the vineyard. He said he would but he did not.

Jesus asked the hypocrites:

“Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

The religious leaders surely thought that they had scored an A+ on this one.  They answered: “The first.”

Jesus didn’t hand out Star Student pencils or put gold stars on their charts.  He went directly to chastising the hypocrites.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.  For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Jesus had tailored a parable just for the hypocrites.  They would catch on later, but surely they were indignant and upset at this point.  When you think that whatever you think is the truth, the truth hurts when you come face to face with it.

For the tax collectors and prostitutes to enter anything of God’s seem repulsive to them.  It seemed completely opposite to what they were teaching and demanding.  They did not have eyes to see and this parable blindsided them.


Matthew 21 - Part 4


Read Matthew 21

I enjoy it when we read about the confrontations between Jesus and the Pharisees or the Teachers of the law.  We like to see hypocrites get their due.  Sometimes we see Jesus being creative in his responses to these self-righteous men.

The chief priests and elders came to Jesus while he was at the temple and asked:

“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”

The men who thought that they were the ultimate authority on this earth, at least pertaining to the things of God, asked Jesus:  Just who gave you this authority?

Jesus countered:  If you can tell me where John the Baptist’s authority came from, then I will answer your question. Here’s the question.

“John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”

The hypocrites needed to huddle and discuss this.  Yes, it was a huddle of hypocrites.  The scripture reduces their discussion to a simple dichotomy, but I suspect there was a protracted discussion.

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’  But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”

This was not a discussion of theology, godliness, or right standing with God.  This was pure politics.  What are the human consequences of our answer?

The hypocrites answered that they didn’t know.

Jesus replied that he would not answer their question either, but he was not through talking and teaching as he launched into another parable, that we will examine in the next section.


Matthew 21 - Part 3


 Read Matthew 21

We see something that we just don’t see much from Jesus.  He cursed a fig tree.  We see many confrontations from him with the religious hypocrites.  We have seen him still the storm.  We have been witness to much healing as we have navigated this gospel.

But cursing a tree, that’s something out of the ordinary.  Jesus was hungry and walked up to a fig tree.  It had leaves but no fruit. 

The scripture did not say that Jesus was upset, angry, or disappointed.  This is what it said:

“May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

We like to think about a God who is love, but we should not skip over those scriptures about his wrath.  But it did not say Jesus was angry.  The tree just did not do what it was made to do—bear fruit.  When we miss the mark—we transgress—wrath is the penalty.  We stand guilty of sin and deserve wrath and punishment and death.

But what about not bearing fruit?  We won’t make this incident allegorical, but we should heed counsel to bear good fruit because we are connected to Jesus.

We also know that God desires none to perish.  He desires all to turn away from a sinful world and come to him.  Forgiveness and mercy are how we know God.  We deserve punishment and death.  We receive mercy and favor and life.

But we are expected to produce fruit.  This was just a single tree and not the tree on which all theology is based.  It was just a tree, but to us it should be a reminder that we disappoint God when we do not produce fruit for the body of Christ, when our lives do not produce fruit to the glory of God.

The disciples were, of course, dumbfounded.  They had been a part of feeding multitudes with very little food.  They had seen Jesus heal so many people.  They had seen Jesus walk on water and still the storm, but causing this fig tree to wither was something else, indeed.  They were amazed.

They asked, “How did you do that?”

Jesus used what he did to the tree to talk about faith once again.  There was not mustard seed analogy here but Jesus said if you have faith and do not doubt, you could do this as well.

If you have faith and do not doubt, you can command a mountain to pick itself up and launch itself into the sea. 

I believe that Jesus was being very literal.  He frames what is impossible without God and then tells us with God it is possible.  With faith, you can move a mountain, but I don’t think Jesus wants a world full of dead fig trees and an ocean full of mountains.  Sea levels are rising enough without throwing in a few mountain ranges.

Jesus is talking about having real faith—faith that can impact physical things.  What things should we try to impact with our faith?

Let’s try these.  Cancer, COVID, heart disease, pneumonia, addiction, and so many more.  If we pray and do not doubt, we should expect God to act.  Sometimes we don’t know what is best but we are to have faith that God does.

We could hold mountain-moving practice or we could do things that matter in our age—healing, confronting evil, being God’s love, being merciful, and more.

Or, we could try to move a mountain.  But if we seek to move a mountain to see if we have faith, then we have already doubted.

Let’s have faith and not doubt and use this faith given to each of us for the glory of God.



Matthew 21 - Part 2


Read Matthew 21

Jesus headed to the temple and didn’t like what he saw.  He drove out those who had turned his Father’s house into a den of thieves.  Elsewhere we get more details.  Overturned tables and a whip cause more commotion, but here Matthew is content to record that Jesus drove them out of the temple area.

Perhaps, Matthew wanted to get to the account of healing and the children.  When the priests and teachers of the law saw this, they were indignant.  They couldn’t say anything about the miraculous healings, so they targeted what the children were saying.

“Hosanna to the Son of David,”

Jesus asked these men well versed in God’s word if they had forgotten Psalm 8.  

Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory

    in the heavens.

 Through the praise of children and infants

    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,

    to silence the foe and the avenger.

 When I consider your heavens,

    the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

    which you have set in place,

 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

    human beings that you care for them?

There is no extended confrontation.  Jesus left to spend the night in Bethany and left these religious leaders to examine what God had spoken to them in his holy word and in the flesh.


Matthew 21 - Part 1


Read Matthew 21

Jesus came to serve, not to be served.  He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and could have rightfully insisted that everyone and everything in his creation serve him and worship him.  He came to serve and to give himself as a sacrifice for our sins.

But for a brief time, the people would get a glimpse of the King.  He rode into Jerusalem as prophesied.  The logistics of this entry into Jerusalem were in place.  Jesus road into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey,

People praised him and cried out Hosanna!  Hosanna means save us but it came to be used as a word of praise.  Hosanna!

As the people lined the road with cloaks and branches, they also cried out:

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”


“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”


“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”


We are told that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred.  There was a frenzy about the city.  There was more than excitement.  There was expectation.

The people cried out to the Son of David.  They shouted blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord but they told others that this was Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee. 

Just who was this Jesus?  For this short time, he gave people a glimpse of the King who would one day rule on this earth. 

He would quickly resume his role as the suffering servant and the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, but some got an early glimpse of the King of Kings.


Thursday, January 21, 2021

Matthew 20 - Part 4


Read Matthew 20

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.  He went through Jericho and as he was leaving, two blind men called out to him.  “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

They didn’t call out to Jesus of Nazareth.  They didn’t call out to a prophet from Galilee.  They called out to the Son of David.  That son would be born in Bethlehem.  How did these blind men know that this was the Son of David?

We don’t’ get a back story on either blind man, but they had better eyes to see than the Pharisees and other religious leaders of the day who had no idea that this was the Son of David.

The crowd rebuked these two men.  Surely Jesus had better things to do than deal with the likes of these two.  Right?

But the more the crowd tried to silence them, the louder they cried out.

“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

They got the attention of Jesus.  He asked:  What do you want?  He probably knew what two blind men wanted, but he asked them to state it.

They cried out:  “Lord we want our sight!”

Jesus touched their eyes and they were healed.  We don’t see any follow-on instructions, but the two men who were given their sight followed Jesus.

How much more should we who have had so many prayers answered by our Lord follow him with eyes to see who he really is.


Matthew 20 - Part 3


Read Matthew 20

The mother of James and John came and knelt before Jesus.  He asked her what it was that she wanted.

She asked that in the age to come, her sons would sit on the right and left of him.  That’s no small request, and Jesus noted that it was not his to grant.

In the world that all of the disciples knew, the most important people sat closest to the king or Chief Priest or the host of the banquet.  These were coveted seats.

While we believe that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit always act in harmony; some things belong exclusively to the Father.

Jesus shifted the conversation from the mother to her two sons and asks:  Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?

We can, they responded.  They surely did not know the full extent of their commitment that they made so readily. 

Jesus noted that the commitment they just made would come to pass—surely he is talking after he commissioned them and sent them into the world—but some things are not his to give.

All authority in heaven and on earth is given to Jesus, but some things belong to the Father.  The Father has not stepped out of the picture and one of those things will be who belongs where in the age to come.

The other 10 disciples heard about this request and were furious.  Just who do those brothers think they are?

Jesus called all 12 together and reminded them that it was the way of the Gentiles to stick their noses in the air because of their position, rank, privilege, family name, or high bowling score. You have seen it.  You know what I am talking about.  It’s just the way of the world.

This is not the way of the Lord.  If you really want to be first in the age to come, be last—be the slave or servant of everyone else now. Be the worker who serves so many without disdain for the work or for those who benefit.

It’s this whole last will be first thing again.  If we really want to be first for the rest of eternity, we must be willing to think of ourselves last in this age.  This is unselfishness.  This is sacrifice.  This takes courage.  This requires trust that there will be reward in the age to come.

Jesus came to serve not to be served.  We would be wise to understand this and embrace this attitude among ourselves.

This does not mean we must be homeless and penniless.  It means that we see the needs of others before we address our own.  We are here to serve others in this time in these bodies in this age.  There will be reward in the age to come.

Hear the words of Jesus once again.

“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Some days, some weeks, some years it seems that we just want to keep our heads above water.  Kids, school, work, taxes, bills, pets, masks or no masks, reading my chapter every day, and checking to see if I have enough toilet paper for the next panic sometimes feel like we are treading water.

But sometimes, we do feel our purpose in life—our God-given purpose.  The storm is not overtaking us.  We are putting our Master’s words into practice. Sometimes we long with all that we are to bring glory to God.  There are those times when we know that God gave us gifts and talents and wants to see us use them to produce good fruit for the body of Christ.

It is in those times when we feel disposed to service—to serving others with everything that we are, especially those things that we are good at.

And we don’t serve to get an eternal reward, but we do get eternal reward because we serve God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  This is most often manifest in serving others. 

Does this mean that when we run the race, we don’t want to finish first?  No.  Run it the best you can.  Maybe you get a medal.

Does that mean that we don’t try to score 100% on our math test?  No.  Study like crazy.  Do the best you can.  Enjoy the grade earned from all your work.

Does this mean that we don’t put all of our education and experience on our resume when competing for a new job or a promotion?  No.  Compete.  Don’t pad your resume but don’t short-change it.  You might just get that promotion.

But in your attitude toward all of life, serve.  Help others. Be generous. 

If you get that promotion, help others be successful. If you really understand math, help those who don’t navigate what’s too hard for them.  If you win the race, challenge your competitors to train with you so you all may improve.

Serving God with everything you have does not leave you destitute.  In fact, you may only understand abundant life when you serve others.  It’s this whole are we rich towards God thing again. 

Life is not measured in the abundance of your possessions.  Service is one of the eternal metrics that we should come to know well.

Remember my reminder not to use temporal metrics to measure eternal things.  Don’t think that status in this world translates to status in the age to come.

Have a heart that longs to serve the Lord by serving others and don’t worry, you will have a fantastic seat in the age to come.



Matthew 20 - Part 2


Read Matthew 20

The disciples never seemed to get things the first time that Jesus said them.  One of those things was that Jesus told them that while in Jerusalem, he would be turned over to the religious hierarchy and that he would be condemned and turned over to the Gentiles to be killed.

He told them that this would not be a single sword thrust so that his life would pass quickly from him.  Instead, he would be mocked, and flogged, and hung on a cross.  This would be ugly and painful.

But it would not be the end of the story.  On the third day, Jesus would rise from the dead.

He would rise.  There is no discussion here.  And questions or comments that the disciples might have had, are not recorded here.

Jesus would die and he would rise from the dead.  That would have been a good sticky note to put on the refrigerator. 



Matthew 20 - Part 1


Read Matthew 20

 If you have lived in California, you have seen something similar to the scene described in the parable.  People looking for work gather in a known place to see who would hire them.  Today, many of these people are undocumented or illegal or whatever term applies to them not being able to compete in the established workforce, but they are looking for work.

The men in the parable were looking for work and they knew where to gather.  Not everyone gathered here.  If you worked in a bank, you probably had a traditional job.  Yes, somebody got banker’s hours even in the first century. The bank owner would like to know who was working for him and not have to wonder day-to-day who would be handling the money.

Some people had their own businesses.  Fishermen needed a boat, probably a family asset.  They might hire someone from time to time, but mostly these were family businesses.

Some people had undesirable jobs.  The tanner—the person who handled the skins of dead animals—had a job that few would line up for—it made you something of an outcast.

The people who couldn’t work begged.  The lame, the blind, and others who were disabled in some way sat along the side of the road and begged for mercy in the form of money.

So, what kind of work was available to this pool of potential employees?  Agriculture was the main source of employment for day laborers.  The landowner might hire a foreman or someone with a specialty on a long-term basis, but the daily grunt work would be done by men who were hired for the day.

Seed time and harvest were surely surge employment periods.  There might be a smaller demand for labor at other times for pruning or cultivation of some sort.  In any case, men knew where to gather in hopes of getting a day’s work.  Some days were surely better than others.  You had better not come home at noon because you didn’t get hired in the morning.

If you didn’t get a job that morning, waiting to see if someone would hire you for the rest of the day was your job.

So, Jesus described the kingdom of heaven with people waiting to get a day’s work.  Some were hired at day break.  These were likely your go-getters. If you are not 15 minutes early then you are late.  The land owner picked up a crew at daybreak and promised to pay them a denarius—standard pay for a day’s work—and off they went.

About nine in the morning, the landowner went back and found more workers willing to work for the rest of the day.  The landowner said he would pay them what was right.

We see a similar routine about noon and then 3 pm.  Finally, about an hour before quitting time, the landowner hired anyone else who had not yet been hired.

Quitting time came around and the landowner told his foreman to pay the men, beginning with those hired last.  Those who worked only a few hours or even a single hour received a denarius.  Those hired first changed their expectations thinking that they would receive more.

They too were given a denarius.  This did not seem fair to them and they voiced their grievances.  How could the landowner give the men that only worked an hour the same as those who worked all day and endured the heat of the day.  This was not fair!

The landowner answered one worker directly.  I am not being unfair to you.  You agreed to work for a denarius. Here is your pay.  Hit the road and take your grumbling with you.

The landowner made a very general statement that gets us closer to the heart of the matter.  Can’t I do what I want with my own money?

Now we get even closer to the heart of this parable.  Are you envious because I am generous?

Are you envious because I am generous?

The parable ends with a statement that is beginning to sound more and more familiar.

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

In the unpublished Part II of the parable, nobody shows up the next day at sunrise for work.  You won’t find Part II in Matthew.  You have to go to the book of Second Opinions.  The parable is not a model for labor in the first century or the twenty-first century. 

It is a window into the kingdom of heaven.  It gives us eyes to see some things that are of import at the end of the age.

We won’t make this allegorical, but let’s consider the denarius as eternal life.  It was what the disciples hoped for and it also is what we seek in this age. 

But surely the landowner was unfair.  Remember, last Sunday I asked you to stop using temporal metrics to measure eternal things. 

The metrics of this world involve comparison.  Comparison often leads to coveting. Coveting puts our eyes on earthly treasure instead of eternal rewards. 

We think, “I have been a Christian all of my adult life, and even some as a child, and this yahoo who spent his life doing little or nothing professes his faith a week before he dies and he gets the same thing I do.  That can’t be fair.

That can’t be fair!

Now there may be rewards once we enter the age to come.  Eye has not seen and ear has not heard what the Lord, God has in store for us.  Just receiving life is a big deal!

After telling the disciples that it is really difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, he assured them that those who had given up family and possessions for him would receive a hundred-fold what they gave up. 

So, it seems there are rewards beyond life eternal, but the promise to those who profess Jesus is Lord is life, life abundant, and life eternal.  The promise is life.

If you want to have more in the life to come, stop complaining about what benefits others are receiving now, and serve others more than ever.

If you want to have more in this life now, stop complaining about what benefits others are receiving now, and serve others more than ever.

If you want something beyond life eternal, take your wealth or status or privilege and put it to use for the glory of God. 

Stop looking at what others have and then desiring it—coveting it—and see what you have and put it to work for the glory of God.  Hone in on your relationship with God.  Enjoy the gifts that he picked out just for you.

The heart of this parable is are you jealous because I am generous?

Are we jealous, are envious, do we covet what others have received in God’s generosity?

If we had worked all day and got paid exactly what we agreed was fair, we should be thankful.  We should not covet what others received or what they had to do to receive it. 

Now, as a citizen of the good ole USA, you may or may not like government handouts, unions, wage requirements, or a dozen other things that first-century landowners and laborers did not have to comply with.  That’s your right.

As a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, thanksgiving rules.  Coveting has no place.  Generosity is the standard. 

As a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, we are thankful that we did not get what we deserved but the mercy and favor of God instead.

At the onset of the age to come, we will be thankful for the life given to us in the blood of Jesus.  Our thankfulness will have no limits or qualifications.  We are and will be thankful for the generosity of God.

As we continue in this age, our coveting needs to give way to our generosity.  We need to have eyes to see that God has blessed us abundantly so we too may be generous.

Who are we to judge another man’s servant?  Who are we to judge our Master?

If we find ourselves jealous of how another has been blessed, then we have taken our eyes off of Jesus and are focusing on the storm.

If we think that we have been treated unfairly, ask if God has not been faithful to his promises.  Where did these other expectations come from?

There is a saying in many sports that involve a ball of some sort.  It’s get your eyes off the scoreboard and on the ball. 

Let’s take this parable and put it into action for our lives.

Get your eyes off of what everyone else has so as not to covet.

Have eyes to see the generosity of our Lord.

Take on the spirit of generosity in our own lives.

Let’s reduce that to something we can remember.

Stop coveting.

Know the Lord is generous.

Become generous ourselves.

Now let’s think of this in terms of what we set upon the New Year to accomplish:  Pursue the things of God.

Love mercy.

Be rich towards God.

Be generous. Stop coveting. Be generous.