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“These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat”
Matthew 20.12

This parable makes both TUC members and CBI members lie awake at night…!
– a wages policy without differentials…
– an employer whose ‘bottom line’ is not profit but kindness…
“…you have made them equal to us…”

In real life, we all treat people unequally…
– we see someone…
– we take note of…
– what they look like, what they’re wearing,
what they’re doing, how they speak…
– and we place them somewhere on a ‘scale’ in relation to ourselves…

We do it unconsciously…
– we do it without malice, usually…
– we would probably hate ourselves if we realised what we were doing…
– but we all do it…
– we know we shouldn’t…
– but we do it anyway…

We evaluate one another…
– we note our relative positions in some imaginary league table buried in the deep recesses of our minds…
– and we like it when we feel we can put ourselves higher up than someone else…!

You will all probably remember the John Cleese, Ronnie Barker & Ronnie Corbett sketch – “I look down on him…”

What scandal then…
“…you have made them equal to us…”

And we do this not only with people…
– but with everything…
– we give everything a value…
– material things, words, deeds, thoughts…
– everything is worth something…
– and everything has its price…

But in all this…
– the place we assign to things, and to people…
– the value we put on them…
– is completely arbitrary…
– it comes out of our own heads…
– and almost everybody’s evaluation is different…
– and none of it has any real/lasting basis…!

But everything is equal in the eyes of God…
– everything is equally a part of his creation…
– created not for what they’re worth or what they can buy…
– created for the simple joy of creating…
– no reason why any one part should be ‘worth’ more than the other…
– all is equal in his sight…

God puts every part of his creation on the same level!
– and that includes us…!

The parable of the labourers in the vineyard begins with those most important words…
“The kingdom of Heaven is like…” Mt 20.1

The kingdom is a place/state without differentials…
– where everyone is ‘worth’ the same…
– where all are raised to the same level…
– where all receive the same amount of love/acceptance…

And furthermore…
– our place in that kingdom is not determined by how hard we have worked to get there…
– but simply upon God’s generosity in offering us a place…
– and our faith in accepting that offer…

It doesn’t matter whether we have…
‘borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat’
– that we have been active church members since our youth…
– or whether we have come late in the cool of the evening…
– God welcomes us all equally…
– and give us all an equal reward…
– all we have to do is say ‘Yes’ to his invitation…

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