Daily Reflection
August 17th, 2005

Jeanne Schuler

Philosophy Department
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Judges 9:6-15
Psalm 21:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Matthew 20:1-16

More Than We Can Measure

Gideon pledged: I will not rule over the Israelites, nor will my sons. There is no king but Yahweh. But his son did not listen. Abimelech was the lowly buckthorn that set the forest burning. A corrupt ruler, he ignored his father’s pledge. And the people perished.

The owner noticed workers standing idle in the day’s heat. Without a job, they couldn’t eat. How would their families survive? A generous man, he opened the gate again and again till the vineyard was full. There was room for all who needed work.

Closing time brought a surprise. Last-hired and first-hired, each received the same wage. They got what was promised, but those who worked all day felt somehow cheated. Grumbling or delighted, they filed out the gate. What kind of astonishing business is this?

Justice matters. Did the punishment fit the crime? Was the house’s value assessed fairly? Do the reasons for war hold up? Is health care affordable? How do the privileged treat those in need? Injustice sears. A time comes to stand up, speak out, and act. Before the courthouse, the statue of justice wears a blindfold, so only what matters is taken into account. But what belongs on the scales sometimes divides us.

If making money grips every bit of our lives, justice shrinks to book-keeping. Money is mainly what gets measured. What is its value? Did I get my money’s worth? Am I marketable? What would it cost to replace me? My horizon constricts to a paycheck and financial ledger.

No debts? Then no obligations. You’re free. How simple it would be.

In Your kingdom we are worth more than can be imagined. Greater even than the scales of justice is the gift you bestow on us. More than we can measure.

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