The Israelites’ journey to freedom in Exodus is hard and their complaints understandable. The providence of God dominates the passage. God hears and responds to the people, providing what they need and testing their willingness to trust him into the future. God offers equity not ‘equality’ as we understand it, and how that can rile (cf Matthew reading). We note the distinctly political power of this passage, and also the way it may be a metaphor for journeys of faith.
The Matthew parable disturbs simplistic notions of grace, challenging us to see the chosenness of the workers, and the work they are to do, as part of the blessing, not just the payment as that blessing/reward. Our ideas of ‘justice’ and how God should operate are undone. There is liberation in the passage about how we understand our work (for God) – here and now as the Kingdom has dawned.
Walter Bruggemann’s work on the myth of scarcity:
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