“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; and to those he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And so they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day long?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.’ When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’ But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’ So the last shall be first, and the first last.” -Matthew 20:1-16
I have been thinking a lot about this passage recently. I don't really know why, but my mind keeps coming back to it. I just can't help but wonder how often we are like those who began work in the morning and get frustrated at the end of the day when everyone is getting paid the same as us even when they didn't work all day. We agreed to it, after all.
On the other hand, I try to think about it like Jesus said, as in it's like the Kingdom of God. How often do we grumble at God because we have been "good" for so long and others who have become new believers get the same reward as us? Maybe we don't grumble at God, but our actions towards others are unloving which is just like grumbling at God.
I don't really know what God is trying to show me with it other than it doesn't matter how much work I do or how late in the game I actually begin to play we are all equal in His eyes. Maybe it has to do with the fact that from time to time I start to shift from doing things out of love to doing things out of duty and trying to earn my keep. Do you ever go through a period of time when you look back and realize what you had been doing wasn't out of loving God, but you were trying to earn His favor? It's hard to believe that regardless of what we do we have His favor.
It's times when I forget, that I really have to try and think about my love for my wife and kids and how my love isn't based on what they do for me. I will love them the same no matter what. They can't earn any more love from me. I love them whether they make good choices or make bad choices. God's love is so much great than mine. Why do we forget that and believe Satan's lie that God only loves' us for what we can do? Is it because that is how we treat other people?
Like I said, I have had these thoughts running around in my mind for a while now and I had to put them into words. It goes so against everything that the world tells us is right.