“The main point of the parable is that entrance into the kingdom comes by grace. The workers are rewarded for work they did not perform. This is hardly a surprise to us; in fact, we practically expect it.
“G.K. Chesterton once said, ‘Do not be proud of the fact that your grandmother was shocked at something which you are accustomed to seeing or hearing without being shocked…It may be that your grandmother was an extremely lively and vital animal and that you are a paralytic.’
“Chesterton has in mind immoral things. He means, ‘Don’t think you are more sophisticated than your grandmother because you watch television shows full of vulgarities and aren’t bothered by them. It could be that she was highly intelligent and sensitive and you have been paralyzed by evil so much that you don’t even notice it.’
“The same sort of numbness applies to the Gospel as well. I fear that it is even worse. We’re not just numb, but we’ve crossed over the line drawn by Bonhoeffer into ‘cheap grace.’ I fear we’re now guilty of thinking grace is worse than cheap; it is a right, an entitlement, as though God owed us salvation. Repent.”
–These are the first 4 paragraphs from the sermon for Septuagesima, based on Matthew 20:1-16.
With Ash Wednesday nearing on March 6, now is the time to order your copy of Thy Kingdom Come. This book of sixty sermons begins with Septuagesima (February 17) and continues with Pre-Lent, all forty days of Lent, and the Sundays after Easter. Pastors and parishioners alike find it to be an excellent daily devotion during Lent. Click on the Reviews tab above for links to interviews and reviews, have a look at the Table of Contents here, or use the word cloud in the right sidebar (“Thy Kingdom Come” or “Petersen”) to find a variety of excerpts.