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  • East Martin CRC

First Shifters

Matthew 20:1-16

Verse 3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.

Yesterday we saw the landowner going to town to find some workers. He sent a first string of workers home to the vineyard and in our key verse today we see him choosing a second wave of first shifters. Let’s talk about how they represent a portion of the kingdom of heaven.

We know that there are as many varying stories of personal faith journeys as there are people walking them. None of our faith journeys are the same and that is part of the beauty of the family of God. There are also many styles of journeys that each speak of God’s goodness, faithfulness and love. For some of us our journeys started when we were quite young. We may have grown up in a Christian home or at least had Christian influence at a very young age.

For those of us that surrendered to Christ early in life it can be hard to understand that not everyone has had the heritage to launch them into a lifelong spiritual walk. Going to church, reading our Bibles, being in Sunday School and maybe even youth group was such a normal way of life for us and those in our circles that we may have been shocked to find that not everyone lived like that.

Sadly, as wonderful as this upbringing is, it can leave us in a judgmental state of mind against those who come to faith later in life. It can cause us to be amazed that someone doesn’t know their Bible as well as we do. Or it may make us shy away from those that aren’t as studied as we are in the “ways” of Christianity. They may not be as polished as we are. We are the “first shifters”, those who came in early in life and have been under God’s employ for longer. We are more special to God. Or at least that is what we like to think.

Did you notice how much first-shifters sound like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day? They thought they were better than the Gentiles because God had called the Jews His people. But God had His ever-loving eyes on more than just the Israelites and we should be glad He did or we would be out with the rest of the Gentiles.

Making It Personal

Have you ever thought of yourself as a better Christian than someone else? What reasons do you think you are godlier than them? How would God prefer you look at others?

Making It Personal Kids

Do your friends know and love Jesus? Are you learning as much as you can about being a Christian? How does your life look different than some other people’s lives?

Closing Prayer

Father, thank You for the blessing of being called into Your family early. Please convict us of times that we judge others and put ourselves above them. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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