In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus tells his disciples another parable about the Kingdom of God. He spends so much time talking about the Kingdom of God! Jesus must really want us to know what it is like. This time, he does not say it is like a teeny-tiny mustard seed or like a very precious pearl, but instead he says,
the kingdom of God is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard.
In this parable, there is a person called a "landowner," who has a vineyard where he grows grapes. People must work hard in a vineyard to keep the grapevines healthy and to pick the grapes when they ripen.
Over and over, all day long, the landowner goes out looking for people to work. Each time he finds more people, and each time those people say, yes, they will work for him. But why? Why do they want to work?
Everyone needs to work. It is important. Something inside us wants so much to work. It makes us feel good to do a job well. Adults work so that they can have money to buy food and clothes and a home for their families. Animals work, too. Bees work to make honey. Squirrels work to find nuts to store away for the winter. What work do sheep do? And what about the sheep of the Good Shepherd? What work do they do?
Children work. Parents ask children to do chores like cleaning up their toys, putting away their shoes, or helping to set the table. What about when children play? When we play, we work things out, we discover things that God wants us to know. We learn. Play is the work of children. It is very important.
Jesus says the kingdom of God is like this landowner who goes out to find people to work in the vineyard. The landowner never gets tired of looking for more people who need work. He keeps going out, finding more people, and bringing them into his vineyard with the others. He gives them work. We wonder...who could this landowner be like?
We remember that everyone needs to work. Work is important to us. We can notice, then, that when the landowner gives the people work, he gives them what they need. This might remind us of that very special prayer in the Bible:
What else does the landowner give them? He brings people together into the vineyard. All the people together with him. Would any of them be lonely?
And we notice what the landowner calls them.
Jesus says the kingdom of God is like this.
Then who is this landowner who gives people what they need,
brings them together,
and calls them friend?
After listening to this parable, we could begin our prayer:
"The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.
Thank-you, God for..."
What will we thank God for today?