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June 2020

What Are the Wages?

Year A – Proper 8 – June 28, 4th Sunday after Pentecost

Romans 6:20 – 23 “In those days when you were slaves of sin you didn’t bother much with goodness. And what was the result? Evidently not good, since you are ashamed now even to think about those things you used to do, for all of them end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and are slaves of God, and his benefits to you include holiness and everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (TLB)

Do you know what wages are? Wages are what you get paid for doing a job. If you are hired to pick apples for a farmer for one day, then what you get paid at the end that day is your wages. You would probably hope to be paid a fair wage for working hard. And usually, you would know ahead of time what your wages will be before you spend a whole day working, right?

Painting by Charles Burton Barber

Let’s pretend that you have the chance to work in a farmer’s apple orchard. There are two jobs available. One is being offered by the farmer. That job is to work all day long picking apples, carefully putting the apples in baskets and loading the baskets on a truck. The farmer even wants you to look for good apples that have fallen on the ground. Those can also be used to make yummy apple pies. Does that sound like a good job?

Now pretend that there is another job available. This job is being offered by someone who lives near the farmer, but as far as you can tell, this person does not own the farm. This job does sound kind of fun though. You get to carry a bat or a golf club and whenever you see an apple on the ground, you get to hit it hard and send it sailing through the air. You don’t have to pick up any apples, you just get to whack at them. Does that sound like a fun job?

Before you agree to do either of these jobs, you should make sure that you know what the wages are. The payment for the first job, is 100 dollars for a full days work, plus you get to take home a fresh-baked apple pie. The wages for the second job is a basket full of rotten, poisoned apples. And before you go home, you will be forced to eat at least one poisoned apple. As a result, you might die.

Now, which job do you think you would choose? Most people would, of course, choose the first job. It may be hard work, and not as much fun as smacking apples with a stick, but the wages are much better than the second job. Once you know what the wages are, it’s easy to choose.

Romans chapter 6 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” God wants us to live a good and productive life. He wants us to fill our baskets with good things to help other people. It may be hard work, but it’s good work. God is offering us a life of doing the right thing and being happy because we are being helpers. At the end of our lives, living for Jesus, God wants to welcome us into heaven. Eternal life is what God wants to give to all of us. But we get to decide our path. Do we follow Jesus? Or do we turn away from Jesus? Let’s pray that we all choose eternal life.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to turn away from things that hurt others or that hurt your creation. Help us to choose to do the right thing and to follow Jesus. Thank you for your gift of eternal life.

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