Pete, the manager of Kingdom Enterprises, sat in his office pondering his future. It was midnight, but time on the job hasn’t mattered since the Boss tore out all the time clocks and instituted a new “continuous improvement” program. He handed out a new employee manual. According to the new rules, everyone in the organization had an equal stake in the company. They were co-owners. Success was theirs to lose. If they did something wrong, the Boss called this an opportunity to get it right and make the enterprise better.

But Pete was conflicted. He was tired too, after so many years of trying to get his people on-board with the Boss’s strange methods. The people he was supposed to train didn’t take easily to this new philosophy. Some who had been there for years watched as younger associates who just got there received bonuses.

One day, one of these malcontents went over Pete’s head and approached the Boss directly about his grievance. The Boss responded quietly but firmly:

“Am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous? Around this place there will be days where the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

This constant bickering among his people drove Pete mad. He felt like quitting, but he knew he wasn’t too smart and would deprive himself of the trust and respect he got from this Boss. Nevertheless, he often wished he were dead. One day he even expressed that wish to those under his supervision:

“I long to depart this life, for that is far better,” he told them. “Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit.”

He felt better after letting off some steam, but he also felt the need for a management recharge, so he went back to the old training manual he and his people had been raised with. He opened it at random and this is the passage that popped out at him:

“Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked his thoughts; let him turn to the LORD for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.”

Pete took comfort in knowing that as many times he and his people screwed up, the Boss let them keep trying to make things better. The rewards of working for Kingdom were theirs no matter what. The Boss promised he’d never fire them. The only way out was to quit. But He made sure they knew that if they did, there’d be hell to pay.

Now make sure you’re on time for this Sunday’s meeting, where all of this will be covered in more detail (First reading, is 55:6-9; Second reading, phil 1:20c-24, 27a; Gospel, mt 20:1-16a).