“…begin with the last group and end with the first…” —Matthew 20:8

Jesus, the “Teacher” (Mt 19:16), is always teaching, always teaching, always teaching. Therefore we, as His disciples, should be always listening for Him, always watching Him, and always docile to His lessons. Jesus describes the master who began paying the late arrivals first. Yet notice that He had gathered all those who had labored that day to watch the distribution of wages. Jesus was giving a lesson to those who had worked all day. His lesson was to display the lavish mercy and generosity of God, and He wanted the early workers to observe His joy in being generous. Since the early workers missed the lesson in the visual demonstration, Jesus had to give them the lesson in words later on.

Focusing only on the rewards of serving God is so limiting. Jesus promised to give His servants a just reward (Mt 20:4). He also gave them a merciful one ­— far beyond anything they could ask for or imagine (Eph 3:20), life on high with Him (Phil 3:14). One day, one lifetime, in His service is far better than a thousand elsewhere (Ps 84:11).

St. Thomas Aquinas had spent his entire life serving God. Near the end of his life, the Lord appeared to St. Thomas and asked him what reward he wished for his life of service. Thomas replied: “None but Yourself, O Lord!” Let us imitate St. Thomas and fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb 3:1; 12:2), not on the rewards He gives.

PRAYER: Father, may I guard against grumbling by spending every day of my life thanking You for Your loving mercy.
PROMISE: “You have granted him his heart’s desire; you refused not the wish of his lips.” –Ps 21:3
PRAISE: Pope St. Pius X was outstanding for his personal holiness and spirit of poverty. He died on the cusp of World War I. His motto was to “renew all things in Christ.”

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