In today’s reading, Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem, and the Jewish leaders demand to know who grants his authority. Instead of offering a response, Jesus offers a parable. In it, a man directs his two sons to go work in a vineyard. The first son verbally refuses, but goes on to do as he is asked. The second son accepts the request but does not follow through with his actions.

Jesus asks the leaders which son they believe did as their father asked. They respond with the logical answer: Actions speak louder than words and therefore, it was the first son who did as the father asked.

In order to understand the lesson within this parable, we must first remember how the leaders treated John the Baptist. When John the Baptist came to share his message, they ignored it—they failed to recognize the Kingdom of God. With this in mind, Jesus draws his conclusion. The leaders may speak of God often, but like the second son, they do not follow through with their actions. We must show our love for God in both words and actions.

Let us use today’s reading as a moment to reflect on the opportunities we’ve had to act out of love. These opportunities take shape in many ways: A friend asks for help, we’re inspired by the actions of others or we discover a problem and are moved into action. No matter what the cause, we hope you seize the opportunity to act—you never know how far one act of love will take you.

Kathleen and Al Hartmann in the field

Kathleen and Al Hartmann in the field, 2019

We’ll conclude today’s reflection with the inspiring words of longtime volunteers Dr. Al and Kathleen Hartmann. Their experience, dedication, and insight show us just how far one action can go.

The people have inspired us and changed our lives. After all they go through, at the end of the day, they’re still smiling.

A lot of people don’t know what the words “developing country” means in terms of what you have to go through to stay alive during a single, 24-hour day. We read about the statistics and poverty. We hear about people going without water or healthcare. But unless you see it up close, it doesn’t hit you and you move on to the next article in the newspaper.

When you see what people, who have the same feelings about life and family as us, go through on a daily basis, you wake up. It’s a real blessing to have had this opportunity in our lives. If we didn’t, we’d be reading about it in the New York Times, wondering what we could do instead of doing it.

People ask us, “There’s so much work to be done in the United States so why don’t you do it here?” The answer is yes, but fortunately, there are lots of people here already doing it. That’s not the case in developing countries.

In grace and peace,


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