Sermon in a nutshell: Matthew 20:1-16
One day I got a call from a hospital. “Pastor Lee, please come and help us.” Chaplain’s office asked me to come for a patient who could not speak English. He was a Korean American who spoke Korean. The chaplain explained to me that he was critical and he should tell that to him. Why me? I did not like being a messenger of a bad news. I want to bless people!
Anyway, I went into his room. “Hi, I am Pastor Lee, a pastor in this town.” He was surprised to see a Korean speaking pastor in this town. “I have to tell you that you are critically ill.” “I know.” He answered. “How long… a month to live?” I was relieved to know that he already knew and accepted his condition. “Maybe shorter than a month!” I took a deep breath. “Do you want me to contact your family?” “No!” Briefly he replied with sad eyes. “Nobody would come to see me!” Why? I wondered. Without waiting my questions he just said his story. He was a carpenter. He worked at construction sites. Whatever he earned he wasted through gambling and drinking. His wife hated him and his children did not want to be around him. Now he was dying and he knew that his family would not come to see him.
“What can I do for you, then?” Hesitatingly I asked. “Pray for me!” Oh! He WAS a Christian! A Christian with gambling and alcohol addictions! “Are you a Christian?” I had to ask. “Yes, I accepted Jesus as my savior two years ago. Then I realized that I wasted my life. I tried to do anything that I could do for my church and for God. I fixed pews and play sets. If I accepted Jesus earlier, I could have built a church myself! I am sorry that I accepted Jesus at the last moment. I wish I could have done more!” His eyes were wet. He continued saying, “I am on my way home. I want to ask forgiveness from my wife and children. Before I die, I want to say I am sorry.” I prayed for him with trembling voice: “Lord, here is your son whom you love. He is waiting for your Grace. Be with him. Give him a chance for reconciliation! In the name of Jesus, our savior, we pray, Amen!” The next morning, 2:00AM, I got another call from the hospital. He passed away.
With the help of the hospital chaplain, I could get hold of the family. As he told me, they did not want to come to identify him. They did not want to have any funeral service for him. I arranged his funeral service anyway with the help of my church members. After a few serious attempts on my part, finally the family agreed to come to the service. I told them that he was on his way to ask forgiveness. I told them God had forgiven him. I asked them on behalf of him forgiveness. They all cried. They accepted his apologies. God answered to his prayer with Grace!
Some people may say that it is not fair that he is saved also. They often say that they have served the Lord since 9 AM in the morning. Yes, they have served the Lord all their life. Mr. Kim came to the vineyard at 4:50 PM just before the closing time. How come he got the same salvation and Grace with others? It is not fair! Here is God’s answer: “Are you envious because I am generous?”
- Why do you feel that your services at church as burdens (or privileges)?
- Who is the one in your mind that does not deserve God’s Grace? Why?