Matthew 20:1 – 16 1“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for is vineyard… 8When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’”

This past summer I led a Games, Sports, and Gaga Galore camp at Gretna Glen. On Monday evening each Discovery Group had to complete a Treasure Hunt that ended at our place for worship. Since sports campers in particular are into competition, they egged each other on and made the experience all about who won. Though I had not planned for that outcome, I used it as an opportunity to share with each of them why the journey of faith isn’t about who gets to the destination first because our paths and clues are all different. The reward is in the experience, not the outcome.

It is surely true that God promises us a crown of righteousness if we can say at the end of our lives as Paul did, ”I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” I was so privileged to have a mom who did that even to the end during her bout with pancreatic cancer. She is among many saints who I have known at Asbury and elsewhere. However, the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard reminds us that though the Master extended grace to all of the laborers by giving them the same wages in the end, some had the privilege of working there all day long instead of just the last hour.

Sometimes our journey of faith is work, even hard work, but I encourage all of us to see our journey of faith as a joyful experience regardless of how difficult our circumstances are. Some of the campers had clues that made their route straight while others went back and forth a lot more, but all of them arrived at a place of worship since our Creator instilled in each of us a desire to praise Him.

Thank you Lord that you have called each of us to a unique journey of faith. Sometimes there are obstacles, round about ways of learning something, or straightforward clues that give us direction. No matter what, help us to follow you and your Spirit’s guidance so that we can experience joy even in the midst of difficult times. Amen.

Carlen Blackstone