“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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“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. After he agreed with the workers to pay them a denarion, he sent them into his vineyard.

“Then he went out around nine in the morning and saw others standing around the marketplace doing nothing. He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I’ll pay you whatever is right.’ And they went.

“Again around noon and then at three in the afternoon, he did the same thing. Around five in the afternoon he went and found others standing around, and he said to them, ‘Why are you just standing around here doing nothing all day long?’

“‘Because nobody has hired us,’ they replied.

“He responded, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’”

Matthew 20:1-7

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Kenya mission worker Joelle McNamara has shared this, “Being generous requires us to dedicate profound thought to what the person receiving our generosity actually needs.” After spending time in East Africa, her definition of how to help has changed. Her desire was once to to feed the poor children of the world. Now McNamara has a desire to help families create ways to sustain themselves. Instead of handing out boxes of goods, she helps women gain supplies to create and sell their own goods to earn their own living wages.

The landowner had a job to be done so he hired workers. Every few hours he returned to the market-place and hired more workers. Generosity looks like the landowner who continued to hire more workers until the end of the day because he knew they needed to make some money. The owner could have ignored them, thrown money into their beggar’s hats, or hired them. He paid attention to their needs and made a decision. Would we do the same?

Katie Barrett Todd

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Come Spirit of Generosity and open my eyes to see actual needs. Help me to make decisions based upon what is most important to the receiver instead of what is most important to me at the moment. I pray that I can be as generous and merciful as the landowner. Amen.

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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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