“Lord have mercy!” — a phrase we often hear or say. Indeed, the phrase is so common, that the shock might have worn off.
But God’s mercy is shocking! The Creator of all that is grants mercy when God could rightfully condemn or punish. God’s mercy is the ultimate gift and show of love to us. When we deserve the worst and are the most unlovable, mercy tells us differently.
Do we realize this gift? And do we know how to respond?
“But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I did you no wrong. Didn’t I agree to pay you a denarion? Take what belongs to you and go. I want to give to this one who was hired last the same as I give to you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or are you resentful because I’m generous?’ So those who are last will be first. And those who are first will be last.”
There’s nothing more humiliating than publicly being called out for my behavior — like when my swim coaches caught me pulling on the lane lines during backstroke sets and I was made to get out of the pool and do push ups while the team watched and counted.
Public humiliation is the worst, which is why I cringe when I read this last part of Matthew’s parable of the laborers in the vineyard. “Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” Ouch! Unfortunately, sometimes it takes being called out to help us see the poor behaviors we’re displaying.
The mercy of God is like the landowner; God can choose to be as lavishly generous with anyone whom God decides. Being named a Child of God is the most mercifully lavish gift we can receive. When we realize this, we just might start to change how we respond to such an unfathomable gift.
~ Katie Barrett Todd ~