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WEEK NINE – KINGDOM BEHAVIOR

Chapter 20: Background and Questions for Understanding. Chapter20 begins with a parable that seems directly connect to Jesus statement in 19:30.  This parable is an illustration of two great Kingdom principals: servanthood and grace.

1. Read verses 1-17.  What do you note that is unusual about this parable?

2. When the latest workers are paid a full days wage, what do you think is running through the mind of the persons who worked the entire day?

3. What is their reaction to “equal pay”?

4. What is the point of this parable?

“The last shall be first and the first shall be last” is one of the key principles of the of the Kingdom of God.  Essentially we are reminded that the world’s measure of success and/or importance has little weight and little meaning in the Kingdom of God. What matters is a life that reflects the character of Christ. Kingdom behavior is other-centered.

5. What are some examples of persons in our church community (or in your acquaintance) that reflect this behavior? What is their impact?

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4 Responses to “WEEK NINE – KINGDOM BEHAVIOR”

  1. I think my mom is very “other-centered”. She has always put her children first, sometimes to her own great loss. But she is also very thoughtful about her friends, her church family, and even people she doesn’t know. When she hears someone is suffering, she thinks about them a lot, and she prays for them earnestly. She will try to find some way to help. When we are out, she is often looking for special little things to brighten someone else’s day. She is on a fixed income, but she will give away money if someone needs it.
    My mom does all this pretty quietly, so it can seem hard to see her impact. But I think she really encourages a lot of people. I think she motivates others to be more “other-centered”.
    And I know for myself, she has made the difference a few times in whether or not we could have a program like AGAPE KID. One thing that really inspires me is her willingness to step out of her comfort zone and help when needed at Good News Club and in Junior Church. She has even shared her story with the kids, and they really relate to her as a newer Christian. She has made a difference in the faith of our children.

  2. Mathew 20, 1-17

    I think of a parable as a story that conveys some other truth, principle, or inclination. This parable I think of as being the truth about human nature. However I may contradict myself later on. Bare with me on this.

    It may be that I am taking a tangent here but human nature hasn’t changed. Although what I have to say isn’t particularly insightful; it reminded me of some of my experiences while working as a human resource manager. This may appear to be a bit comical or extreme but shows how some people “think”.

    As a HR Manager there would be occasions where we would choose to give a higher percentage wage increase to some job classifications due to a perceived inequity within the marketplace or the plant. About 8 years ago we decided to give an overall wage increase of 3% but to give the forklift operators a 5% increase.

    Well, some of those who got only the 3% complained that they had lost 2%, their rationale being that since the forklift operators got 5% and they 3%, they in comparison lost 2%. Now, this “logic”, to me seems to defy logic. However, that is the way some people “think”. They got 3% and didn’t lose anything.

    So this parable seems to show the thought process of humans rather than a story that conveys some other truth. This is a story about generosity (the employer) and jealousy (some of the workers). Rarely are employers this generous but often the workers are jealous. Maybe the workers are humans and maybe the employer is represented as God. Now that would make it a parable.

    “The first shall be last and the last shall be first”. I don’t think it means exactly what it says. My guess is that either the first could be last or the last could be first with the emphasis on COULD. My take on it is that it doesn’t matter when you are born again, early in life or later in life, in this generation or in previous generations, you get the same acceptance and judgment. In other words there is no first or last. We are all put on the same scale and judged from there.

  3. I am still withholding my comments on the meaning of this parable to allow a few more of you to wrestle with its meaning and implications. Let me say in response to Mark’s comment that “first” and “last” are humanity’s terms or the world’s values. He’s right, before God we are all equal .. equal in our sinfulness … equal in our inability to be righteousness enough to deserve salvation … equally loved and valued by God. But in the world’s unequal way of looking at things, those the world considers last will be first and those the world considers first shall have to get in line behind the least and the last of the brethren.


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