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last first and first last

“In this way the last ones will be first, and the first ones last.” Matthew 20: 1-16 
Do you ever think about what people are really like – inside

In Matthew’s first century biography of Jesus Christ one comes across: - men wanting easy divorces; men thinking that, if divorce isn’t to be easy, then it’s better not to marry at all; disciples of Jesus having no time for little children but only for people who mattered – to them; a wealthy young man finding that he couldn’t earn unending life because his own wealth and accompanying self-interest stopped him from giving to others; Jesus’ disciples asking him what was in it for them when they would follow him.

When you are shown wedding photos, whose picture do you look at first to see if they are attractive on the photo? What are you really like – inside?       
‘When it comes to generosity some people stop at nothing.’ (Anon.)
Was Jesus like these? Like you? What was he really like – inside? This Jesus who said, “In this way the last ones shall be first, and the first ones last.” Look with me now at how Jesus showed very clearly that it was “in this way” that “the last ones will be first and the first ones last.” He did that by drawing a parallel between himself and a fictitious proprietor-sole-trader.

Here it is. “…The realm of the skies is like a proprietor-sole-trader who came out in the very early morning to hire workers for his vineyard, agreeing with the workers on a denarius a day. He sent them out into his vineyard. Coming out around the third hour he saw others standing idle in the street, and to them he said, ‘You also go out into the vineyard, and whatever may be just I will give to you.’ So they went out.” Does the heavenly realm really have a proprietor-sole-trader and does he really do only what is just? 

“Coming out again around the sixth and ninth hour, he did likewise. About the eleventh he came out and found others standing and he stated to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle the whole day?’ They stated to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He stated to them, ‘You also go out into the vineyard.’ And when evening came, the lord of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and give away to them the reward, starting from the last, until the first.’ Those around the eleventh hour came and took each a denarius.” Does the proprietor-sole-trader in the realm of the skies really give away stuff like that?

“The first ones came and thought they would take more, but they each also took a denarius. Taking it they grumbled about the proprietor-sole-trader, stating, ‘These the last did one hour, and you have done to them the same as to us the bearers of the burden of the day and of the heat.’" What were these workers really like – inside

‘He who is not liberal with what he has deceives himself when he thinks he would be liberal if he had more.’ (William S Plumer, author and educator, 1802-1880)
“But he replied to one of them, saying, ‘Good friend, I am not unjust towards you. Did you not agree a denarius with me? Pick up what is yours and go out. I wish to give to this the last the same even as to you. Is it not permissible for me to do what I wish with my own? Or is your eye bad because I myself am generous?’ This heavenly proprietor-sole-trader is good and a generous giver and all he does is just. That’s what he is really like – inside.

Given what Richard Syvret is really like – inside, he greatly needs this kind of proprietor-sole-trader. Someone who gives away to him (and to those who know what they are really like – inside) - what he doesn’t (and they don’t) deserve.

It’s in the nature of this man Jesus, Son of Man, Son of God, to be similar to this proprietor-sole-trader in his giving to others. Do you know anybody in Jersey who is really like that – inside? Are you really like that – inside? Will you be first or last?

Sinner Syvret

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