“I can’t get no satisfaction,” to quote Mick Jagger.
That is exactly what our scriptures are about today.
We have a passage from the Book of Exodus where the Israelites are so unhappy and ungrateful that they actually wish out loud that God had allowed them to die as slaves in Israel.
And we have the story from the Gospel of Matthew where the laborers who worked all day are angry that the workers who only showed up at 5 p.m. get paid the same amount as themselves, who have worked all day in the hot sun.
To be fair and honest, they all have a case.
The Israelites are lost in the desert, and have no reason to expect that food and water will magically appear to save them. And it really doesn’t seem fair that nobody is rewarded according to how much he or she worked in the parable in Matthew.
Despite these instinctive misgivings, we like to believe we would somehow be far-seeing and obedient to God if we were in the same situation.
We’d like to believe that if we were with the Israelites, we would be brave and have faith that God would take care of us.
And we’re sure that if we were with the disciples hearing Jesus’ parable, we’d immediately understand that God’s grace is given freely to everyone regardless of how much effort they are able to put in.
Well, I’m calling bogus, and I’d actually like to propose that we are even less likely either have faith in or be satisfied with God’s grace than the people in these two stories. Continue reading