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The Kingdom Of Heaven Is Like

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  • 1. A Retelling of the Parable The Workers in the Vineyard (Mt. 20:1-16) Inspired by Robert Farrar Capon
  • 2. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a Football Game By Paul T. Christian
  • 3. On a Friday evening in early November, a cold and crisp night where you could see your breath in the pale light of the blue moon, the final football game of the regular season was about to be played by the conference rivals of the Tracy Scrappers and the Slayton Wildcats.
  • 4. This game would send one of them to the State playoffs. Both teams had perfect seasons up this point so this game was of the utmost importance. Before the game began the stands fill to capacity, each side sporting their team’s colors and singing their school’s fight song.
  • 5. The football season had started last summer with twice-a-day practices under the hot Midwestern sun that showed no mercy for those on the practice field. The heat and stress were too much for some of the players and they dropped out. Some had to quit because of demands of farm work or other duties their family had need of them to do that outweighed the time spent on the practice field.
  • 6. Some even decided that it was easier playing their band instruments and marching and playing at half time than it was to withstand those miserable twice a day practices. But tonight they were all there, everyone cheering on the team. Even if they had been picked on or ridiculed by a couple of those who stuck out the rigorous practice schedule, they were still in the stands.
  • 7. Everyone was there to support those who had played every game this season, suffering through all kinds of ankle, knee, and elbow sprains, sore muscles and all the aches and pains suffered through a long hard season, This was the game that would decide who moves on and who stays home.
  • 8. For some odd reason, the Scrappers, having home field advantage, were up by a score of 35 to 0 by the end of the first quarter. All of a sudden the head coach, Coach Johnson told his assistants to take over and he would be back in a few minutes. The head coach then made a beeline for the stands to find all those players who had dropped out for whatever reasons during the year. He asked them to come down and get suited up. He told them there were extra equipment and uniforms in the locker-room and if they hurried up they would get a chance to play. 35 15:00
  • 9. When the coach returned, everyone was wondering what was going on, but he said everything was under control. “I went and got a few more players,” he stated. The team was puzzled but kept playing as the new players, freshly suited up, appeared on the sidelines. There was now just a few minutes left in the half and the coach sent some of the new guys in before half-time. The score was 42-28 at the half. 2842 0:00
  • 10. Coach Johnson gave a very motivational halftime speech. He said this was not a time for discussion from any of the players, but one could see all of the questions on the faces of those players who had worked hard on the team all season. When half time was over and the team was heading back to the field, the band was coming off from the halftime show.
  • 11. As the band members walked off the field, Coach Johnson said that anybody who wanted to play football could come and suit up and they would be put in the game. Girls or boys could suit up, he said. Those who decided to give it a try came out to the sidelines dressed up and the coach put them in during the rest of the game.
  • 12. Halfway through the fourth quarter, the score was 49-35 so Coach Johnson said once again, “I’ll be right back.” By this time the assistant coaches thought he had really gone off the deep end, but the game went on. Coach Johnson went into the stands again and asked if anybody wanted to play. Several more students jumped at the chance to get out on the field.
  • 13. As they headed down toward the field, they each thanked the coach and told him that no one had ever asked them to play in any kind of game before – let alone the most important game of the year. They were happy just to suit up and be on the sidelines.
  • 14. Then to their surprise as the two minute warning sounded and play stopped, the coach told all the people who had just come down from the stands to get in and play. All of the seasoned veterans on the team were really getting steamed and couldn’t believe what the coach had been doing.
  • 15. On the first play, with the kids from the bleachers in, the Wildcats threw one pass and scored on the first play of the drive. The score of the game was now 42 to 35. When the Wildcats kicked off to the Scrappers, they received the ball on the twenty and started their drive. On the second play, they fumbled and the Wildcats recovered the fumble and got the ball back with one minute left to play. They ran a couple of plays and scored with 5 seconds left to play on the clock.
  • 16. They lined up for the attempt at the extra point conversion after the touchdown and they went for a two-points and got it, so now the score was 43 to 42, Wildcats over the Scrappers. The Wildcats were confident, so they kicked the ball deep. They noticed that there were a couple of girls lined up for the Scrappers and figured they wouldn’t even have to block her.
  • 17. But what they didn’t know was that these young ladies are talented athletes, and after a few laterals going back and forth, Nancy Olsen ended up with the ball. She ran in for a touch down with no time on the clock. The Scrappers won the game, 48 to 43. 48 4 0:00 43
  • 18. The Scrappers moved on through the playoffs and won the State Championship even though they weren’t allowed to use all of the new people who played in the final game because of eligibility rules for the playoffs. The fall sports banquet was a week after the football team won the State Championship. All of the regular football players were rubbing it into the Johnnie-come-lately’s in the final days before the banquet asking them, “Where are you now?” and saying, “You’ll just be watching us get our rings at the banquet.”
  • 19. The banquet started with all of the normal protocol – naming offensive and defensive players of the year, handing out Letters to all the players who lettered that year, and to everyone’s surprise, those receiving letters just kept coming up to the podium. They were all of the ones who volunteered to play in the final game. Not only did they receive a Letter, but also it was attached to a shiny new leather Letterman’s jacket! All of the players who worked hard all year could not believe their eyes!
  • 20. Finally, they couldn’t take it any more. The players started to grumble and call the coach names. The coach was finally able to settle the ruckus down for the final presentation of the player of the year award. The coach was explaining what a gifted athlete this player was and how hard they trained and what adversities the person had overcome to be able to get this award.
  • 21. While Coach Johnson was doing all of this bragging, the quarterback started to get up because he thought surely the coach was talking about him. But the coach turned to Quarterback Larry Anderson and said, “Sit down, son. This award isn’t for you. It’s for Nancy Olsen, the one who ran the kickoff in for a touchdown in the final game of the season.”
  • 22. Finally the team couldn’t take it anymore. They all got up and started yelling at the coach. Even the parents of some of the players were doing the same. Then Coach Johnson said as he yelled over the loud speaker, “If you don’t like what you have been given, you are free to leave and you don’t have to come out for football next year either. I am the coach – take it or leave it. Why are you so mad at me? I am the best coach you ever had. We are all state champions.”
  • 23. The kingdom of heaven is a place of Unity & equality Cross Stitch Moment
  • 24. The parable in a peanut shell
  • 25. One of the all-time greatest animated films ever: Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown! Who cannot love a loser like Charlie Brown? Who cannot identify with his struggle to fulfill his destiny as a great summer camp leader? In celebration of this great film, here are lyrics of the film's theme song. • It's a new day We all can agree That the sun shine's Brought to you absolutely free Free as running water Fresh as morning dew No matter who's the leader When the sun sets down It's gone Charlie Brown So race for your life Take a chance cause there's no second dance Till it's a new day • I'll tell you a secret You're about to face a test And you'll have to do your best Don't forget, just remember Just remember, don't forget Your life is free as running water Fresh as morning dew No matter who's the winner If you try, we're behind you Charlie Brown Race for your life, Charlie Brown Race for your life, Charlie Brown Race for your life, Charlie Brown Race for your life, Charlie Brown
  • 26. References • The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary by Arland J. Hultgren (Eerdmans) • The Parables of the Kingdom; The Parables of Grace; The Parables of Judgment also available as a compilation in Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus by Robert Farrar Capon (Eerdmans) • Many Things in Parables: Jesus and His Modern Critics by Charles W. Hedrick (Westminster John Knox)