A devotion from earlier this year, that was part of a series in the lead-up to the 40th birthday of the Uniting Church in Australia…
About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ – Matthew 20:6-7
In this parable, Jesus describes the Kingdom of God as like a landowner who, at regular intervals throughout the day, goes to the marketplace to hire workers, and at the conclusion of the day pays all the workers the same wage. Often we see the unfairness in the ‘equal’ pay for ‘unequal’ work, but fail to notice that those who worked for the least amount of time had spent all day waiting to be hired. They had been looked over at each earlier stage, but why? Maybe they weren’t as strong-looking as those hired at the start of the day. Maybe they didn’t look as committed or capable. Maybe they didn’t have the loudest voices yelling to be picked, or they just didn’t stand out in the crowd. But in the Kingdom of God they are still picked, and given the same opportunity as the others, to be able to go home and feed their families that night.
Who in our communities and congregations might we be overlooking? Who may not appear strong or confident or loud, and yet, if they were given an opportunity, might surprise us with what they have to offer?
God, thank you for the confidence, boldness and strength of some of our leaders. Thank you for the way they take up present opportunities to participate with you in your work. Help us to open our eyes to see who we may be overlooking. Help us to find ways to support and encourage these people, to identify the ways in which they are gifted and called to contribute. May we help them to find opportunities to participate, working with the way that you have uniquely gifted each member of the body of Christ.