top of page

Sunday Service 21st April

Only one payment



Call to worship

Hymn 180: Give thanks


Talk for all


Hymn 144: I love the sun 


Reading:       Matthew 20: 1-16 Amanda



Hymn 147: All creatures of our God and king





Hymn 181: For the beauty of the earth 




Welcome to our meditation for 21st April.

Today’s reading asks us to think about what we should get out of faith.

And that is sometimes something we should think about.

What are the rewards for believing, what should we be looking for from God?

But we will reflect on that after our reading and prayer from Amanda
















‘The kingdom of heaven is like this...’


We have been here before.

In fact it was only last week we were looking at a farming parable where we concluded we would never grow a crop like Jesus was suggesting, but then the point of the parable was not to tell us how to grow crops, it was to tell us what we needed to focus on.


And today is the very same.

Jesus, in this parable, is not suggesting that this is how we run a business.

Though in large parts of the world this is still how transient workers are employed.


A farmer has a small window to harvest his crops.

So first thing in the morning he will go out and hire the men he thinks that he needs to harvest his crops.

The farmer will go out, make a contract with the workers, and if they agree they get into his van and head off to the farm to work the day.


But as the day goes on the farmer may feel that the workers he has will not complete the harvest, and harvest not collected is wasted and potential profit lost. So the farmer may go out throughout the day and get more workers in.


This farmer goes out three times, the last time when there is only a couple of hours before sunset when the work has to stop due to lack of light.


Then at sunset he gets all the workers round the campfire, gives them something to eat and then distributes the wages.

And the same amount, a silver coin to those who have worked for a couple of hours, and a silver coin to those who have worked for nearly 12 hours.


Let’s imagine that I was that farmer and I worked my farm like this.

So the very next day I go out to the market to get workers at the start of the day.

I ask who wants to work on my farm for a silver coin, it is a decent wage, a good wage, but all the workers just look at the floor, no one wants to come and work on my farm.

They have all heard what happened the day before; no one wants to work on the first shift.

So I go back out at midday hoping that someone will want to work on my farm, no one does, or at three o’clock.

The day is nearly done and none of my field has been harvested.

I am looking at potential ruin.

So I go out one last time at five o’clock, and everyone wants to work for me then, because they know they are getting what they would have got if they had worked for the whole day.

As a result only part of the field is harvested and I probably make a loss.

But I can never get anyone to work for me from the start of the day, because they all know I won’t pay them any more than if they worked for the last two hours of the day.

This is not a way to run a business.


But Jesus knows that.

Jesus is not giving business advice here; Jesus is talking about the Kingdom of heaven.


So background...

Jesus has been talking to crowds, teaching his disciples, and along comes a rich man who wants to be a disciple.

Now the basic belief here is that being a disciple is better than not being a disciple.

That there should be some benefit of being a disciple, if there isn’t then what is the point of being a disciple?

We are trying to be followers of Jesus, but if there is no benefit of being a follower of Jesus, if it is all about sacrifice for no reward, then what is the point?


Now I don’t want to be mercenary about this, but this is a calculation that everyone makes.

If you are a human being, you look at what the benefits of any transactions are.

Even relationships...

Look at marriage; when I was young we had a neighbour who was battered silly every time her husband was drunk. And she put up with that because she was a good catholic who said in her marriage vows, ‘for better, for worse.’

To her there was no transaction of whether she should leave the guy or not,

there was no weighing the good against the bad,

the contract had been made for life and even if he threatened that life, then that was no excuse for breaking the contract.


Now I would be one of the first to turn round and say that often people give up on relationships far too easily now-a-days, but if she came to me for pastoral advice I would be telling her to pack her bags and leave the guy.


In everything we do, because we are human beings, we calculate what the benefits of everything we do are.

That includes our relationship with God.

So this rich man comes to Jesus and thinks that the benefits of being a disciple are huge; you get to be close to God, people respect you, you become famous and adored.

And Jesus then tells the man that he is happy for him to be a disciple, if he gives up everything he had and gives it to the poor.

And suddenly the man is rethinking this deal, this is too costly, the sacrifices outweigh the benefits.

And off the rich man goes.


But now the disciples are rethinking this as well.

They are the men hired from the very beginning why should they carry on if the benefits are so small, the costs so big?


And to them, maybe also to us, Jesus tells this parable.

Jesus wants them to think deeply about this parable.

So let us change it slightly so that we may understand it better.


There was once a poor woman who had a daughter who she loved very deeply.

They may not have had a lot, but they did have love.

Every day the daughter knew that she was loved.

Every day the daughter knew that she was cared for.


One day the poor woman was watching the news and heard that there was a war far away and that there where many orphans because of this war.

She couldn’t give any money because she didn’t have much money.

But she did have love, so she decided to adopt a child from this war torn land.

And she loved that child with the same love that she loved her daughter.


In time the old, poor, woman died.

Which of her children felt more the benefit of her love, the one that had enjoyed that love from the moment that she was born, or the one that benefited it when she had no one else to look after her?


Now that’s a tough question, with no real answer.

You could argue for both children benefiting more.

And in a sense it doesn’t matter, what matters is that they were loved.


And that is the point of the parable.

The fact is that there is only one reward for being a disciple...having the assurance that we are loved by God.

It doesn’t matter when we find that truth, the reward is always the same...knowing the assurance that we are loved by God.

If we come to that truth late in life then we find that we are loved by God.

If we find that truth early in life, then we can’t get more love of God, or a deeper love of God, or a more substantial love of God, there is only one love of God, and that never changes.


So what is the point then?

Why not live the worst, most selfish, uncaring life that we can, and then just before we die, then surrender to the love of God?

We would get all of the benefits of God’s love, and none of the sacrifices, none of the commitments, none of the struggles.


And the answer to that is why Jesus tells the parable to these people at that time.

For them this way of life was true to them.

They knew what it was like to be labourers’, waiting for someone to hire them.

They had seen the queues at the market place.




These were not just men waiting to be hired.

These where men with families waiting at home for them to bring home food.

If they didn’t find work then their wife, their children didn’t eat that day.

If they didn’t find work then maybe their children starved that day.


When the farmer hired them first thing in the day then they had the assurance that their family was safe.

They worked through the day happy to know that their children would eat that night.

Every time they swung the scythe and cut the wheat they knew that was going to give his family the chance of life.


That assurance, that happiness, gave a security and hope for that day, and maybe beyond that day.


That is part of what Jesus was asking his disciples to work out.

Jesus was offering them one reward, only one, the assurance that they were loved by God.

That for the rest of their lives, no matter what they faced, no matter what this world flung at them, they could know the assurance that they never faced it alone.

God was with them,

and all the other followers of God that they let into their lives were with them also.


And they could forever live with that truth.

Or they could live as one waiting to see if it was true or not,

leaving it to the last moments of the day to trust in God,

but in doing so lived a life uncertain,

believing that they were on their own,

believing that they had nobody on their side except themselves, that the only person they could trust in was themselves.


And it is still something we need to consider every now and again.

Jesus is only offering us one reward for following him,

the assurance that we are eternally loved and cherished by our Heavenly Father, we are offered no more, or less.


The cost is still everything we have,

because if we are holding onto anything else; no matter how fragile or important, how costly or cheap, how lasting or temporary,

no matter how important or petty that thing may be,

if we are holding on to anything else...then we can’t hold on to His love.


That is the reward; that is the cost.

Only we can decide if it is truly worth it.




Let us pray

Heavenly Father,

who am I /are we, that you trust us with this thing we call faith?

Who am I/are we, that you persist and never turn away?

Who am I/are we, that you entrust us with your kingdom on earth?

Who am I/are we, that you wait patiently for us to see the truth that will give us eternal hope and assurance?


It is both reassuring, and disconcerting, that no matter what, there you are:

trusting, persisting, entrusting, waiting.


May we never lose sight of your love and your faith in us.


Generous and giving God,

we lay before you our offerings of love.

They come in different forms:

our time, our attention, our skills, our money.


We give what we can,

in the hope that they will make a difference.

Guide us in our giving,

that we might be generous and fair,

ever hopeful that through our lives, our offerings, that your love will be shown.




Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page