I’m going to just dive right into this weeks posting by saying that I think we can strongly relate to the popular parable that we hear in this week’s Gospel. The Gospel can be found at Matthew 20:1-16. In summary, the parable that Jesus explains is one in which several groups go to work in a vineyard at different times throughout the day, but at the end of the day each individual receives the same amount of pay. This angers the individuals that started earlier and worked a longer day than the others that started later because they feel as if they deserved more payment than the people that worked less. However, the landowner makes a great point at the end in reminding each individual that they still received what they agreed to be paid, so they have no reason to complain.
The point that I want to focus on is not the monetary message of this parable because I feel that that is pretty self-explanatory; if you agreed for a certain payment, accept it, and do not concern yourself with what others are receiving. The part of this parable that speaks out the most to me and will be the focus of the rest of this post is at the end when the reading says, “Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
With this statement, I believe it means that there is never a time that is too late to find God or improve our relationship with God in our lives. Many of us may look around and see people that have been religious throughout their entire childhood and have carried this faith with them to college and throughout their entire lives. You may be thinking that you’re too old to just now be diving into your relationship with God, or you may think that for whatever reason you’re just not the kind of person that can have a great relationship with God. Maybe you’ve felt like you’ve done way too many sinful things in your past and you’re afraid that God will be ashamed of you for waiting too long to start or improve your relationship with Him.
I want to reassure all of you that it is never too late to form or improve a relationship with God. He always wants to welcome us home. Many of you may be thinking, “Well I’ve prayed before, but I’ve never gotten anything out of it,” or you may think that unless your five senses can “sense” the presence of God, then there’s nothing that you can possibly get out of a relationship with God. I can speak from personal experience that I have thought those very same things throughout my life. There are many times that you may be praying or conversing with God and it seems like you’re just talking to yourself. You may wonder if it really is worth it or if God is just listening when He wants to, just like a little kid might. If you have all of these thoughts about praying, do not let this discourage you; it is entirely normal! God is the ultimate listener, He wants you to pour out all of your thoughts, emotions, and feelings to Him because in doing so, you are sharing your life with Him, and whether you physically feel anything or not, you are forming a bond with the Father that will be unlike any other bond you will form in your lifetime. A bond with God, the Father, is a bond that no one can take from you. You may be mocked about your relationship with God, but during these times, remember the Beatitudes: “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” In the times that people make fun of you for your faith, know that God is watching over you and will protect you.
If you have a strong faith and have grown up with Christ in your life, it can be easy to grow complacent and just go through the motions of prayer, and you may think that you don’t need to work as hard anymore in improving your relationship with God. This could not be further from the truth. God has an everlasting source of love, and He yearns for us to continually open our hearts and souls and let Him into our lives each and every moment that we can. In doing so we will also be fulfilling our duties as Christians by living and sharing God’s great news and great love. We can be the shining examples for others that are just starting to find their way with God.
To wrap things up, I want to remind you that for all of the times of prayer that you don’t feel anything at all, I promise you that there will come a time that you will truly feel the Holy Spirit reside in you. You will all feel it at different times and in different ways, but if you pray often enough, it will happen, and you will rejoice and your prayer life and faith will never be the same again. I did not experience this feeling until I was a senior in high school, which goes back to what I was saying earlier when I say that it is never too late to form a relationship with God. Whether you are a toddler, adolescent, college student, a 40-year old with 4 kids, or even a senior citizen five years into retirement, God will always welcome you home with open arms. You will receive the same love as the person who has had a strong relationship with God from the very beginning. I encourage you all to either form a relationship with God or look for ways to improve your current relationship with Him. Just like your relationship with your family and friends here on this Earth helps shape the home that you experience here, the relationship that you have with God will help shape the eternal home that we have all been blessed with the opportunity of having in the next life. There truly is no place like home.
Give your Almighty Father a call today! (I promise it is toll free)
By Brandon Christman