Jesus says: Faith Like Children, NOT Cranky Teenagers… 19OCT – #605

Standard

605

Jesus says: Faith Like Children, NOT Cranky Teenagers… 19OCT

I could think about that parable of the laborers working in the vineyard in multiple ways… Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 20, talks about the kingdom of heaven being like a vineyard – and God has hired laborers  – some started early and some started later and yet the ones who came late got the same wages as the ones who came early… Jesus teaches that God, as the landowner, says: “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous? So, the last will be first and the first will be last.”

Again we see this “last is first” statement, which has been replicating in my own readings lately. Jesus does teach this many times, and also teaches us to not be upset about this perceived inequity! So many times He tells us that we are called to put ourselves last… Why? Perhaps Jesus keeps drilling that home because the kingdom of Heaven is near and we are not to let our guard down – it may be closer than we think and Jesus says it is better to be working in the field for God than spend idleness in chatter… Jesus wants us working to strengthen our hearts as the only way to prepare… and spending time complaining about the other people working (even if they came late) is not productive – ESPECIALLY since the Kingdom of Heaven is God’s and not ours – ESPECIALLY since the wages the laborers make (also thought of our salvation) is NOT ours to dole out – but HIS and HIS alone.  Jesus reminds us often that He too works for God and says ALL the glory goes to Him. Jesus came to remind us to stop worrying about our human-perceived inequities – but be grateful for God’s love – because “Love rejoices in the truth, NOT in iniquity!” (1 Corinthians 13:6)

I think of this scripture when I hear folks complaining – perhaps one reason Jesus told us this parable is so that we would TRY to become less cranky in life… our disgruntled nature is so very human – our crankiness very teenager like in our faith – and our jealousy of others might make us resentful enough to stop issuing the rest of the people in the world Grace – the same Grace that is afforded to us…. The scripture is also about not being so greedy and about sharing with others who come after us… and realizing that God does what He wants with HIS STUFF – paramount is for Him to have EVERYONE come home to Heaven. We are all more than just HIS STUFF because we are HIS CHILDREN!

We have to accept that people, as sheep, as laborers, come to the place of forgiveness at various times and still get full forgiveness…. we are to acknowledge that faith as small as a mustard seed is enough to get each person into heaven – because entering Heaven and receiving forgiveness is by God’s grace and not by our doing…. and God gave Jesus to those of us broken on earth to be repaired in Heaven – Jesus reminds us that what is impossible with man is only possible with God…

If we feel saving grace in our hearts, are we still remembering to be growing Christians? We are still called to grow… We always have something to learn and our imperfections that re-occur…

Are we envious of others because of God’s gifts to them? And that clouds our gratefulness of ours? Are we forgetting that salvation is a gift and has nothing to do with us – but we are still called to work very hard regardless…

See, Jesus says we are to enter the kingdom like little children… we are growing Christians, our faith must become more simple and God-dependent – it is not given without sacrifice… Maybe some of us pass thru a cranky teen phase on our own way to being children of faith… we can acknowledge our cranky “what about me?” phase and try to get over it by reminding ourselves that it’s not all about us – but it is all about God! That we are in His plan and should rejoice in that! We should still try to embrace joy and shed our envy… And still labor in the vineyard for whatever wages we agreed to work for – and keep working for all… God is for all – so should we be…

Are we willing to still work – even serve others whom we dislike and disagree with? And do it with JOY? Joy is integral to God… Joy is blessed on those who learn to serve Him now… JOY is given as grace – only at His doing, not ours – not earthly JOY…

Are we allowed to be cranky about earthy things? How about cranky about God’s gifts? Are we like the prodigal son’s other brother, jealous of the returning prodigal son? Are we doing ourselves and God a disservice by withholding grace and not letting ourselves return to childlike acceptance of our faith? We should just let it go…

I remember a friend saying: “God calls all these people, whom I don’t like, His children too “… and it’s true that we can’t see into their hearts, so those late to the table still means they got to the table, and God’s blessings of grace will bring them home…

Are we able to forget our personal agendas and follow His example of being generous with our grace too?

For the first should be last… and stop complaining along the way…

Let us today find and work for God.

There is a lot in life – there is our lot in life – our lifework is a lot – but we can rejoice in working for God…

Amen

—-

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

“About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing.About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius.11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Matthew 20

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s