Pastor Harry's Page

The Rev. Harry Kyle Gindhart Jr., came to Midland Park UMC in July of 2019. Pastor Harry transferred  from the Marion District where he was ministering at Lake View and Nichols UMC. Rev. Gindhart studies involved Charleston Southern University where he received his BS Degree in 1973. Upon completion of CSU, Rev. Gindhart attended seminary at Candler where he received his Master of Divinity in 2006.

Rev. Gindhart is married to Marsha Gindhart. Marsha is a homemaker and currently holds no employment outside of the home. Rev. Gindhart and Marsha have three grown daughters who live outside of the home. They have been blessed with several grandchildren.

Prior to entering into the ministry, Rev. Gindhart’s professional career included ownership, management, and on-air positions in commercial broadcasting (TV and radio). Rev. Gindhart held a Residential Contractor’s License (SC), as well as an Unlimited General Contractor’s License (commercial). His last position prior to entering seminary was Senior Vice President of Dolphin Architects/Builders and President of Dolphin Building Systems (and Partner). Rev. Gindhart studied Architecture at Clemson University and obtained a BS degree in Accounting.

“I am committed to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and teaching Scripture in small group settings. I am a sinner saved by the Grace of a loving and merciful God.” – The Rev. Harry Kyle Gindhart Jr.

E-Sermon for September 20th, 2020: Matthew 20: 1-16 NRSV

It's just not fair!!! Sound familiar? Probably so, if you have a child who believes their sibling got a larger piece of chocolate cake. Perhaps you have uttered those very same words for some reason or another. We feel that the short end of the stick is in our hand; we were short changed; overlooked; slighted. Someone bested us undeservedly so (in our mind). We seek, yay, we demand justice for the infraction! This appears to be the case in this morning's text. In this unique reading found only in Matthew, Jesus shares yet another parable: "For the kingdom of heaven is like ..." Jesus has a way of putting things into perspective. The 'kingdom' is unlike anything perceived to be reality in human terms. So, the kingdom of heaven is like "a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard." This landowner goes to the agora, that is meeting place, to hire the necessary workforce for the harvest. This landowner has the upper hand; he can dictate the stipulated wage operating on the premise of the golden rule: "he who has the gold, rules." He can extort cheap labor by offering the bare minimum for day laborers - a denarius. They are hungry; there is no negotiating; they will receive a wage that barely supported a single person (much less a married one, pun intended) for a day. So at six o'clock, he hires laborers for the daily wage, the agreed upon salary. Long story short, throughout the day, the landowner returns to the agora and hires more labors for "whatever is right." Note that no particular sum was specified. This happens at nine, noon, three o'clock. At five, an hour before quitting time (sundown), he again returns finding folks standing around and hires them to likewise go into the vineyard. Each would expect to receive less than the daily wage for their labor. This is where the story takes a twist. When summoned to receive their pay, imagine the surprise, when starting from the last hired moving on to the first, the workers opened their pay envelopes to discover that each had received the full denarius. You know that as each received their pay, the first hired surely thought they would receive more for enduring the heat of the day and longer hours worked. But no; they got only the denarius. Fowl! They cried! It's just not fair! We have worked our ..... off and we get the same pay as those who worked an hour? What gives? To which the landowner replied, "did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?" Truly, they received everything that was promised! In today's world we, too, would be disgruntled. We often chaff at the seemingly unfairness that professional athletes, entertainers, and celebrities earn an astronomical amount of money when nurses, teachers, law enforcement, EMS, etc. receive mere peanuts. The "stars" add nothing to society as a whole whereas the latter are extremely valuable (and as we have discovered: are necessary). What IS fair? But this text doesn't address this particular question. It does speak to equal pay for equal work (in a sense). Time after time, people are not paid on an equal basis depending on gender, race, social status, etc. There is nothing worse than learning that the guy next to you on the assembly line makes more than you, all factors equal. It' just not fair. These days people are tired of being oppressed for being who they are. We are witnessing it not only for pay, but how they are treated for being who they are. Equity! Folk seek to be equal. The text does not advocate socialism: that everybody should get the same thing. Capitalism, though not perfect, is a much better system based on our abilities and skill sets. But many who do possess the necessary abilities are getting short changed; they deserve a better piece of the pie. As we move forward, we need to ensure that everyone is treated fairly on an equal basis with respect and dignity. I'm sure that Jesus would agree! The one thing I really like about Jesus' parable is that the landowner keeps coming back looking for more people. If you understand this story as allegory, where the landowner is God, and the pay for our labor is salvation, God keeps coming back seeking more and more souls to enter the kingdom. WOW! God doesn't give up! God continues to woe us unto God's self. The workers were already in the marketplace; they were given an invitation; some accepted, some did not; yet God kept returning making the offer: come be a part of the kingdom. Finally, some came at the eleventh hour! The reward is the same! You may have been a follower of Jesus all your life; you will receive the salvation God promises. God also offers the same opportunities to Johnny come latelys. Yet many Holier-than-thou righteous folk cry fowl: "it's just not fair; I've been laboring for the kingdom my entire life." In God's eyes no one is any more special than another. God pours out Grace upon all created. God's desire is for each of us to join the Divine for all eternity no matter our past lives. Equity; we are all equal. We do not have a say in who is or is not worthy. Rejoice that the kingdom is available to everyone; they just need to accept the invitation; when is not important. Don't begrudge others of the bliss we are promised. Be thankful you accepted the invitation and "take what belongs to you." Blessing – Pastor Harry

Matthew 20:1-16 NRSV 

The Laborers in the Vineyard

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage,[a] he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage.[b] 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage.[c] 11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?[d] 14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’[e] 16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”[f]

 

Pastor Harry's Pulse Article: September and October 2020

In today’s world it is easy to become depressed and disappointed: so much illness; so many deaths; unending social turmoil; natural disasters galore.  How do we cope?  I am reminded of some sage advise offered by Tinkerbelle in the movie “Hook.”  When Peter Pan was unable to regain his special powers, she told him to find his ‘happy place.’  We all need a ‘happy place’ to retreat from all that ails us.  It can be either physical or mental.  What is it that makes you happy?  Your children, spouse, home, activities, hobbies, or even work.  My ‘happy place’ at one time was sitting out on the stern cockpit of my boat in a deck chair (as seen in my office) sipping on an ice cold bottle of Coca Cola with a fresh breeze blowing across my face.  Runner up was digging my feet in the sand on a beach listening to the surf and seagulls and again sipping on an ice-cold bottle of Coca Cola.  Naturally, I would be surrounded by family either case.  I could relax and let all those worries and anxieties float away.  These days, I no longer have a boat, and the beach just is not a possibility.  On the plus side, there is still my family and an ever-ready bottle of Coke.  Now I have a new ‘happy place.’

 

It can be just about anywhere, any time of the day, but mostly my ‘happy place’ occurs at night when I climb into bed.  I lay back, close my eyes, and begin a heartfelt, intimate conversation with our Heavenly Father.  Prayer time is my ‘happy place.’  During these moments of solitude I recall all the numerous blessings in my life: an awesome childhood with amazing parents, grandparents, and brother; now over 50 years of marriage to the best life partner ever, Marsha; three beautiful daughters and five grandchildren.  The list goes on: I fall asleep not counting sheep but counting blessings.  Sure, I could have a bigger house, more luxurious vehicle, finer clothes, and yeah, even another boat.  Yet I am content with all I have: a roof over my head, food to eat, and of course my family and friends.  Oh, and I have all of you in my life.  I lift you up in prayer during all my happy place moments.  And I long for the time when we can re-gather as the church; I miss each of you and the time we share together in worship.  But our new normal is anything but normal.

In Matthew’s text about Peter’s confession of Jesus’ Messiahship, Jesus proclaims him to be the rock on which his church is built.  And on this rock the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.  In other words, nothing will prevent the church from being the church.  Not Corona Virus, not civil disorder, not nature’s onslaught.  We can take comfort in knowing that God is with us always because God is Omnipresent; when we are in prayer, God is listening and most importantly God is speaking.  Sometimes we need to pause and listen.  Time in prayer can be your ‘happy place’ as well.  Do not allow the situations that surround you rob you of the joy of Christ fellowship.  Sure, times are trying; we wonder what 2020 has in store for us next.  Allow God to surprise you instead!  Drift off in quiet solitude, relax, and find your happy place!

Grace and Peace

Pastor Harry