Pr. Cathy Daharsh
Who is generous to you?
Growing up with three older brothers, I constantly tried to keep up with them and I was envious of the freedoms that they had and the things they got to do. I would often say, “that’s not fair.” But, on the other hand, being the youngest and only daughter, and I’ll admit a bit spoiled, my brothers would often say, “that’s not fair.”
Fairness is complicated, isn’t it? A decision is usually considered fair if it is equal. For most of us, fairness means that people deserve equal rights and opportunities and are treated equally. But how do generosity and grace fit into that understanding of fairness? Does fairness allow for generosity?
In last week’s gospel reading, the owner of the vineyard doesn’t see the problem in giving each worker the same amount of wages no matter how many hours they worked. Those who worked a full day were disappointed that they received the same amount of wages as those who worked much less, and angrily say, “That’s not fair!”.
Jesus concludes the parable with, “the last will be first and the first will be last,” which is an ultimate example of God’s generosity for us.
This week we hear the end of the story of Jonah. In the book of Jonah, God asks Jonah to deliver a message to the city of Nineveh because they have lost their way. Jonah does not want to do this, especially, since they are the enemy. He runs away almost stomping his foot and saying, “That’s not fair.”
The story of Jonah gives a glimpse of a God who pushes God’s people to go beyond their boundaries to be generous in their love and mercy to others. Many of us are reluctant to do this, especially with people we don’t like. It’s easy to judge people and even hate them. Throughout our history, people have been concerned with who is included and who is excluded. But Jonah’s story flips it all around and challenges us to see things from God’s perspective. We learn that not even a reluctant servant like Jonah will stop our generous God from sharing peace, love, and forgiveness with those who are included and those who are not.
Take time this week to think about and discuss:
- Who has been generous to you in your life?
- How has their generosity shaped you as a person?
Generosity can have an enormous impact not only on the person who has received the gift of compassion, time or resources, but also on the giver. Amen.