Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - Some Last, Some First, All Equal

ronniemcbrayer300 orangeKENTUCKY (2/9/13) - There’s an old joke about a man who arrives at the gates of Heaven. St. Peter asks, “What is your denomination?” The man says, “Methodist.” St. Peter says, “Okay, go to Room 24, but be very quiet as you pass Room 8.”

Another man arrives. Peter asks, “What is your denomination?” The man answers, “Catholic.” St. Peter says, “Very well, go to Room 18, but be very quiet as you pass Room 8.” A third man arrives at the gates. A third time St. Peter asks, “What is your denomination?” The man says, “Baptist.”

“Go to Room 11,” St. Peter says, “but be very quiet as you pass Room 8.” The man said, “I can understand there being different rooms for different denominations, but why must I be quiet when I pass Room 8?” St. Peter said, “Well, the Presbyterians are in Room 8, and they think they’re the only ones here.”

Of course, in any retelling of this joke, “Presbyterians” can be substituted for any group, because such exclusive, boundary-drawing mindsets are common. These attitudes are not funny, however. They are a severe detriment to God’s witness in the world.

A story from Jesus is apropos here. It is a story about a landowner who hired laborers to harvest grapes from his vineyard. Some employees worked all day, others labored for part of the day, and some arrived to work only at the last hour. In Jesus’ story, the landowner, inexplicably, pays those who were hired last (and worked the least), the same wage as those who were hired first and worked all day long.

No matter which way you cut it, this doesn’t seem very fair: Especially for those of us raised with the good old Protestant work ethic, with entrepreneurial capitalism passed along to us in our mother’s milk, and with a sense that “membership has its privileges,” membership we have duly earned.

So imagine the scene as it plays out. The tired workers form a line at the end of the day to receive their wages. The landowner asks that those hired last be paid first, and he gives them all a full day’s wage. Those who were hired first see this and are thrilled: “Those who worked only an hour got a full day’s pay! Just imagine what we are going to get!”

So when the Director of Human Resources gets to them with their paycheck, it is for the same amount as those who worked only an hour! Everyone is treated equally. Quickly there is the threat of a labor riot or at least a lawsuit for unfair labor practices. The landowner gives this response, “I haven’t been unfair! Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?”

It is a direct and accurate reply, for the angry workers were not enraged over injustice. They were angry because the landowner was generous and gracious to others that had not “earned” their way. The landowner gave grace – making the last first, and opening the door to all – and this is what infuriated the other workers.

With this story, Jesus has dug his fingers into a very sore spot for we who are religious people. We preach grace, but we don’t always practice it. We talk about God’s mercy, but we don’t always want the people who need it most to get in on it. We say we are in the redemption business, but we are not eager to open the doors to all would-be patrons.

My friend Landon Saunders says it like this: “Figuring out who is in and who is out is just too much work. It’s too heavy of a burden! So I just try to treat every person I meet as if they will be sitting beside me at the table in eternity.”

Such a small change of perspective would do more to advance the kingdom of God on earth than a thousand aggrieved churches that pound their pulpits and point fingers, condemning and excluding others from the love of God and the gates of heaven.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Posted on 2/2/14
Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
3/12 - 718 switched from reg 2 to hopkins only
Posted on 1/31/2014
2/6/2014 - posted
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
3/12 - 718 switched from reg 2 to hopkins only
Posted on 1/31/2014
2/6/2014 - posted
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
3/12 - 718 switched from reg 2 to hopkins only
Posted on 1/31/2014
2/6/2014 - posted
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
3/12 - 718 switched from reg 2 to hopkins only
Posted on 1/31/2014
2/6/2014 - posted
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

July 22, 2014 4040

Madisonville Woman Charged With…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 21, 2014 2930

Five Sent to Hospital After Two-Vehicle…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
July 24, 2014 2779

Powderly Man Injured in Apparent Gun…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 21, 2014 2341

Business Spotlight - Painted Window Aims…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 21, 2014 2260

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - July…

in News by Madisonville Police Department

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

July 22, 2014 4040

Madisonville Woman Charged With…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 23, 2014 1960

Crime Stoppers Top Most Wanted - July 23,…

in Top Stories by Crime Stoppers
July 24, 2014 1900

Madisonville Man Charged for Drugs,…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
July 21, 2014 1232

Madisonville Fire Chief Announces…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
July 21, 2014 1178

Three Injured in Three-Vehicle Collision…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

July 21, 2014 1527

Portion of Southeastern Parkway Closed…

in News by Beth Cecil
July 22, 2014 1220

Alliance for a Drug Free Owensboro and…

in News by Carla Shelton
July 23, 2014 1164

Owensboro Neighborhood Alliance Meeting…

in News by Sherry Girten
July 22, 2014 1157

Daviess County Traffic Advisory

in News by Keith Todd
July 23, 2014 1039

Fall Baseball League Registrations

in News by Brittni Bunn

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

July 21, 2014 2930

Five Sent to Hospital After Two-Vehicle…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
July 24, 2014 2779

Powderly Man Injured in Apparent Gun…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 21, 2014 2341

Business Spotlight - Painted Window Aims…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 23, 2014 1772

Greenville Family Loses Home, Possessions…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 23, 2014 1488

Swinging for Sadie Raises $6,000 for…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03