Is it just a happy accident?

On Sunday (9/18) we heard a story. “The kingdom of heaven is like . . . .” (Matthew 20:1-16) The parable ends with these words of Jesus: “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” The discussion within the Forum spoke to the issues of entitlement, love of neighbor, ego, pride, and placement in the Kingdom. Nothing was resolved; but, engagement with Jesus’ story and the unsettling wind of the Spirit around the table and within us was exhilarating.

With the words about the first and the last and the generosity of God commanding our attention we take a look at this Sunday’s readings (9/25)  and discover Paul’s admonition: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

Is it just a happy accident that these two readings occur on successive Sunday’s in our lectionary? Is it more? What is the Spirit saying to you and me about humility, about honesty, about graciously accepting God’s generosity without judging who should be first or last or wondering if someone is getting more than they deserve or more than we are getting? What is the Spirit saying to you as you take up Jesus’ parable, his story (read Philippians 2:5-11), and Paul’s admonition?

Leave a comment, continue the conversation. Hear what the Spirit is saying.

Author: Daniel Rondeau

I am a husband and father and an Episcopal Priest (now retired) in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.

2 thoughts on “Is it just a happy accident?”

  1. If Jesus were here now what would he do? He would cetainly put the other person’s needs before his own. Not just the poor, not just the disadvantage but all people. He is not here now but he gave us his spirit, the Holy Spirit, to do just that. He hired us, even adopted us. We are to do his work for him. We are to put the other person’s needs first, before our own. This is the challenge. It is especially difficult for the person who has worked hard for his money, for his life style. It is especially hard for the conservative hard working American. But this is what a true Christian is. And it opens the door for forgiveness (a whole other subject).

    1. Thanks for this insight, Joan. Yes, it is quite a challenge to put the needs of others before our own. I think you would agree that it is only with the grace of God that we can meet the challenge.

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