Which Will You Choose?

Don’t I have the right to do what I want with what belongs to me?
Or are you resentful because I’m generous? Matthew 20:16

What makes a joke funny is the final sentence called the “punchline.”  The parts of the joke all come together and there’s a burst of laughter.

In today’s reading Jesus isn’t telling a joke, but there is still a punchline.  It’s a great story about whether to feel angry or happy when someone receives a very generous gift—more than we receive. See if you can find where Jesus’ punchline is in the story.

You’ll probably feel pulled in two directions—either to be angry or happy at the end of the story.  This  will depend upon which way you choose to let your mind and heart go.  We get to feel by how we think. If you think only about yourself, you’ll tend to be angry; if you think, “How good it is,” when others receive blessings, you’ll be happy.  The choice is yours!

Matthew 20:1–16

Examples of Bible Breaths Learn More…

Grateful for others’ blessings v. 11
Joy in being generous v. 15
First is last and last is first. v. 16
Going inward; finding peace

Check out Study Tools in BibleGateway.
I especially recommend the free resource
in Matthew Henry’s Commentary.


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from the Lectionary,
We read from the Gospel of Matthew.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Rosh Hashana

The term Rosh Hashana means the head (rosh) of the year (hashana). We interrupt the regular flow of readings from the Torah on Saturdays to celebrate the Jewish New Year.  If the sky is clear, you’ll see a thin crescent moon in the evening sky.   A leader in the local synagogue will take the shofar, a hollowed out ram’s horn, and blow strongly into it, making a loud horn-like sound that flows across the land.  This announces to everyone that the new year has begun.  The Jewish day begins at sundown.

   The secular New Year on January 1 has noisemakers too, like kazoos.  But the sound of the shofar is much different, summoning us, not to extravagant partying, but rather to an inward quietness.  Along with our Jewish sisters and brothers, we enter a time of reflection, prayer and deep thinking about one’s purpose in life. The question for you, for me and everyone is this: how are we living up to the purposes that God has for having created us? 

    The reading is about the birth of Isaac. It is piously believed that the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were born on the first day of the new year.

Greet your Jewish friends with the wish that they all give to each other on this day. L’shanah tovah tikateivu:“May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year.”

 Genesis 21

Check out Study Tools in BibleGateway.
I especially recommend the free resource
in Matthew Henry’s Commentary.

The Saturday passages follow the reading list that Jewish people use in their synagogue worship throughout the world. They are taken from
“The Torah,” the first five books of the Bible from Genesis to Deuteronomy that are read each year beginning with autumn.

These Firestarters are for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Palm Sunday in Autumn

One day Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem with crowds of people cheering and welcoming him.  “Hooray”! they shouted.  They took leaves from palm trees and tossed them on the road as Jesus came into the city on a donkey.

The celebration is called “Palm Sunday.”  In the northern part of the world it takes place in the springtime, the Sunday before Easter.  However, in the southern part of the earth, it’s autumn when they celebrate Palm Sunday.  Instead of palm branches, the leaves falling on the ground make a crunching, crackling sound as people walk on them.  Today we can get a feeling of what Palm Sunday is like in autumn. 

Jesus wants to come into your heart.  Welcome him with the leaves crunching as you walk. Listen to the leaves.  Let them be like a loving voice telling you to bring Jesus to others.

  Matthew 21:1-17

Check out Study Tools in BibleGateway.
I especially recommend the free resource
in Matthew Henry’s Commentary.‘s Commentary.

In Year A, we continue to read from the Gospel of St. Matthew.

These Firestarters are for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.