Pause

“Lord have mercy!” — a phrase we often hear or say. Indeed, the phrase is so common, that the shock might have worn off.

But God’s mercy is shocking! The Creator of all that is grants mercy when God could rightfully condemn or punish. God’s mercy is the ultimate gift and show of love to us. When we deserve the worst and are the most unlovable, mercy tells us differently.

Do we realize this gift? And do we know how to respond?

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Listen

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and give them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and moving on finally to the first.’ When those who were hired at five in the afternoon came, each one received a denarion. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more. But each of them also received a denarion. When they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, ‘These who were hired last worked one hour, and they received the same pay as we did even though we had to work the whole day in the hot sun.’"

Matthew 20:8-12

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Think

One year for Christmas my cousin received an awesome new outfit, including new shoes and a purse from my grandfather. When it my turn to open my gift from him, I was very excited because I'm the oldest granddaughter and the gift under the tree was a huge box. As I started ripping the wrapping paper I noticed the card was to both me and my brother. When I opened the box, I fought back tears. It was a set of golf clubs. For us to share. And I didn’t even play golf. I was devastated and angry.

Like the early-to-arrive vineyard workers, I believed I deserved better. I was the oldest, so why shouldn’t I get the best present? That’s now how it works though. Yes, the workers did show up earlier, but the later workers worked hard, too. And the earliest workers received their duly agreed-upon wages, didn’t they?

Mercy isn’t something we can earn based upon our age or our length of work. Mercy is the gift of the giver. What we receive is completely a gift.

Katie Barrett Todd

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Pray

Dear God, I don’t mean to get mad when I see people being treated better than me, but I do. I forget that your mercy is a gift that I don’t even deserve, and yet I still feel like I should have more. Please forgive me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Go

Let us be renewed by God's mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.

Pope Francis

Accepting the mercy of God means consciously changing our way of thinking. It requires us to realize that the One who is the Creator has love for all.

Allow yourself to be renewed. Let mercy flow through you into others.

Katie Barrett Todd

Rev. Katie Barrett Todd is the Executive Director & Pastor for UKIRK Greensboro, a PC(USA) ministry to college students in the greater Greensboro area. She holds a M.Div and MACE from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Katie has served churches and campus ministries in South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Nebraska. Mommy to Luke and Lilly, she’s married to Mason, a pastor at a nearby church in the North Carolina piedmont.

Making Space - Fallow Ground

Carter Harrell

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