Fair game (Twenty-sixth Ordinary)

Jesus said, “Tell me what you think of this story: A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said,  ‘Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard’. The son answered, ‘I don’t want to’. Later on he thought better of it and went. The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered,    ‘Sure, glad to’. But he never went. Which of the two sons did what the father asked? They said, ‘The first’”. (Matthew 21: 28 – 31)

When I taught high school, I spent a number of years coaching the junior soccer team. Then I became a soccer referee. That was back when I could still run up and down a field for an hour blowing a whistle.

What I liked about the game of soccer and especially “reffing” was that no arguing with the referee was tolerated. If you tried it, the ref would give you a “yellow card,” holding it up to your face without speaking a word. It was your only warning. Do it again and he would “red card” you, kicking you out of the game if you were a player or off the field if you were the coach. It was the ref’s way only. It taught players patience. It taught them to concentrate on the game and not blame the officiating for their problems. It taught us all to keep our mouths shut. Consequently, when I became a referee, I took the responsibility to be fair and accurate seriously.

Scripture reminds us that God is just and forgiving. But our actions and our choices make a difference. We can argue all that we want and say what we think needs to be said as we compare ourselves with others. But it is to no avail. God judges us by God’s standards and not by our perceptions.

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