Daily Archives: July 10, 2010

Joshua 12,13; Psalm 145; Jeremiah 6; Matthew 20

That’s not fair!

Everytime I read the parable of the workers in the vineyard I still have that thought. God’s ways are not our ways, and here is one case where that really stands out. If God is just, how come he doesn’t pay the workers in proportion to their work? Doesn’t that violate the “you reap what you sow” principle?

As I pondered this story in the last few days, asking God for some new insight, one phrase really stood out to me. When the owner went out at the eleventh hour and asked why the people were standing around doing nothing, they answered “Because no one has hired us.” For some reason that really stood out to me. I had always thought that they just weren’t at the right place at the right time. But maybe they were like the ones picked last for a pickup game of basketball. In any case these people were passed over, but the landowner did not pass them by, but invited them in.

Another thing that stood out is that only the first group of people knew what the pay would be. The second, third and fourth groups were simply told that they would be paid what was right. Pay wasn’t even mentioned to the last group at the eleventh hour, they simply were told to work and they did. It made me wonder if, with such a generous God, maybe we don’t want to bargain in advance for the mundane denarius in return for our labor. Maybe we just follow him expecting nothing and in return we get way more than we imagine.

A final thing that stood out for me was what always does with this story. God does not want us falling into the comparison trap. When we start comparing ourselves, our lives, our gifts to others we will always find people that seem to have it better or easier than ourselves, but this will only lead to grumbling and dissatisfaction. We should really be thankful for what we are given, and know that we serve a very generous God, one that is ready to heap unexpected blessings when we least expect it. He is ready to bless us way beyond what we deserve. One day we will be the ones passed over for that pickup game, and God will be right there taking us in, making us worthy, showering us with generosity. Psalm 145 tells us

 8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
       slow to anger and rich in love….

 14 The LORD upholds all those who fall
       and lifts up all who are bowed down.

 15 The eyes of all look to you,
       and you give them their food at the proper time.

 16 You open your hand
       and satisfy the desires of every living thing….

  19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
       he hears their cry and saves them.

Lord, I am so thankful for the many blessings you have bestowed on me. Help me to rejoice in my blessings, and rejoice in the blessings of others. Keep me ever mindful of your generosity and loving kindness. How wonderful it is to know that you will always choose me for your team.

Sue

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