Practical Issues

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Matthew 19–20

Divorce is one of the greatest causes of heartache today. Jesus emphasizes the permanence of marriage, yet there are illustrations in the Gospels of his gentleness toward those who had failed in that area. On the one hand, we must do everything possible to encourage people to be faithful to their marriage vows. On the other hand, we need to minister lovingly to people who have fallen short of God’s perfect will in this area of life as well as in other areas.

Children are important. The disciples tried to keep children away from Jesus, but his attitude was entirely different. He welcomed them and pointed out that unless we come to him like a child, that is, in humility and sincerity, we cannot be part of his kingdom.

Wealth can be a hindrance, preventing us from following Jesus as we should. But whether we are rich or poor, we cannot enter the kingdom in our own strength, but only by the grace of God. That grace is further demonstrated in the parable in Matthew 20:1-16. The owner of the vineyard chooses to give each of the laborers a denarius, one day’s wage, what was needed for a man to feed his family. To those who worked all day he gave justice, to the rest mercy. Likewise God mercifully accepts people into the kingdom who come to him later in life as well as those who spend their whole lives serving him.

PRAYER

Father, we praise you for your grace, for it is the only hope of each of us. In Jesus' name. Amen.