What did you expect? Those are some significant words. And expectations are powerful things.
If you expect something and you get it, everything is fine. And you might start to feel a little powerful, a little smarter, a little more in control of the situation. But if you expect something and do NOT get it, watch out, right?
And the text for this Sunday, from the first part of Matthew 20, deals primarily with expectations. Those who worked only one hour get paid the same as those who worked a full twelve hours. And it seems to be very unfair.
The text is clear, though, that the master worked it out with the workers who started at the beginning of the day, that they would be paid the typical wage for a day's work. And then, when the master hires the later workers, he said that he will pay them, literally, 'whatever is RIGHTEOUS'. THAT is a significant word, especially when it comes to God.
Expectations are powerful things, but what is the ultimate source of these events that we are trying to predict? Are they coming from ourselves, or are they coming from a righteous and gracious God? Or we holding on to HIS promises, or are we holding on to something that is ours?
EXpectations should only happen after some INspectations--although I doubt that is a word--of the scriptures. We lose our perspective so easily and in so many ways. The Apostles' Creed and the Lord's Prayer help us to get our perspective back, and that was a good reason for Martin Luther to suggest beginning and ending each day in such a way. The scriptures are filled with stories of those who were treated very unfairly, who did NOT get what they deserved.
To be righteous is a term that belongs to God. That term is applied to us quite unfairly, essentially because of the sacrificial suffering and death of a righteous and only Son.
What DID you expect from a loving God?