August 1 Devotional

Opening Prayer: O gracious and holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive You, intelligence to understand You, diligence to seek You, patience to wait for You, eyes to behold You, a heart to meditate on You, and a life to proclaim You, through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord. - Benedict of Nursia

Scripture: Matthew 20:1-16

Journal: Who can you relate to most in the parable? Why? How does this story speak into your life right now?

Reflection: I don’t know about you, but I can really relate to the guys standing in the marketplace late in the afternoon still waiting to get picked. It just wreaks of neighborhood baseball games doesn’t it? The big, the strong, the skillful, the athletic going in the first round, while the rest of us wait our turn to finally be deemed good enough to participate.

I love that the kingdom of God is not like that. At least that seems to be one of the many things Jesus is getting at in this parable. The kingdom of God is not just for the strong and the skilled and the popular. It is not just for those who look like they have it all together. But instead, it is for the least and the last and the marginal and the throwaways. God, it seems, doesn’t keep score. He doesn’t grade us as the world does, by appearance and performance. As a matter of fact, his heart seems to be draw in a very special way to the folks on the bottom rung of the ladder. He sees right through all of the superficial exterior, straight to the heart. And I am so glad.

There is something really wonderful about a master who pays the last and the least the very same amount he pays the best and the brightest. There is something about a master like that I’m really drawn to. It gives me hope that even if I’m never really great at anything in the eyes of the world, I can still be great in the mind and heart of God. 

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Manuel and Annabella Valverde are involved in church planting and leadership training in Guatemala. Dr. Valverde started the Francisco Lacueva Theological Seminary (STFL) in 2012 and they now have 14 students. Pray today for the students in the seminary and the churches where they serve.

Beatriz and Gustavo Fuentes lead the work of Young Life in Mozambique. Beatriz first encountered Young Life in Brazil and became a Christian through that encounter. The Fuentes moved to Beira, Mozambique in 2010 and began building relationships with teenagers there to introduce them to Jesus. Pray today for the Fuentes and the students they are reaching through Young Life. 

Closing Prayer: We beseech Thee, O Lord, let our hearts be graciously enlightened by Thy holy radiance, that we may serve Thee without fear in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; that so we may escape the darkness of this world, and by Thy guidance attain the land of eternal brightness; through Thy mercy, O blessed Lord, Who doest live and govern all things, world without end. Amen. - Sarum Breviary