Sunday, May 22, 2016

This week's lesson (May 21-27): Idols of the Soul (and other lessons from Jesus)

Once upon a time, there was a roofer.

A roofer on a deadline.

A roofer on a deadline with a BIG penalty-clause that will kick-in if he doesn't finish the roof by sundown tonight.

That's why he swung by the lumberyard this morning (which is always a good place to find roofers who need work) . . .

He pointed at the guys who were hanging around the parking lot . . .

And he said, "I need three roofers!"

"What will you pay?" he was asked.

"A hundred dollars!" he said.

"Good enough," they said -- and three roofers climbed into the back of his pickup, and spent the day banging nails.

But by noon, it was clear he needed more help -- so he swung by the lumberyard again, and pointed at the guys who were still hanging around the parking lot.

"I need three roofers!" he said.

"What will you pay?" he was asked.

"I'll make it worth your while," he said -- and with that, three more roofers climbed into the back of his pickup, and spent the four hours banging nails.

But by 4 PM, it was clear he needed even more help -- otherwise, he'd miss that decline for sure! So he swung by the lumberyard one last time, and pointed at the guys who still hadn't managed to find work.

"I need all the roofers I can get!" he said.

"What will you pay?" they asked.

"Never mind -- just get in the truck!" he said -- and with the help of those extra workers, he managed to finish the job on time . . .

But just barely -- I mean, we're talking just minutes to spare.

So now it's time to pay his workers . . .

And the first thing this roofer does is call over the workers he hired at 4 PM -- the ones who worked for just one hour. "Here's a hundred bucks," he says . . .

And with that, all the other workers look at each other, and start rubbing together their thumbs and forefingers like you do when you're talking about REAL money. "If they got a hundred bucks for an hour's work," they say to each other, "then just think how much WE are going to get!"

But when he called over the people he hired at noon -- the people who worked five hours . . . then they each got a hundred bucks.

And when it came time to pay the people he hired that morning -- the people who worked all day . . . then all they each got was the same, lousy hundred bucks that everyone else received.

"That's not fair!" they said. "We worked all day -- but got no more pay than the people who worked for just one hour! What kind of a boss are you?"

"I paid you exactly what I said I would," said the roofer. "And it's no skin off your nose if I feel like being generous to someone else -- so quit your bellyaching!"

"So the last will be first," said Jesus, "and the first will be last." -- Matthew 20:1-16



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