May 18, 2008

It’s true: Life’s not fair

In church this morning the pastor was talking about Matthew 20: 1-16 which is the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard. It’s the story that Jesus told about the master of a house who goes out to hire laborers to work in his vineyard. He finds workers early in the morning and promises them a certain sum if they work for the day. Then he goes back out and finds more workers 3 hours later and 6 hours later and 9 hours later. When it’s time for all these workers to be paid, they all get paid the same, no matter how long they worked, and the workers who had been in the field all day were upset. They expected to be paid more since they worked longer. The master says “Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for one denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?”
I think I’ve always had a hard time with the teaching of this parable because it so goes against today’s culture. The world tells us that we have a right to “fair” treatment and we should speak up and take what is ours. But God never promised us a fair life. He said there will be trials and tribulations and our life on this earth will be hard, but His Grace, His gift to us of eternal life, is good and He is allowed to give this gift to anyone He chooses whenever they accept it. Max Lucado said “Deathbed converts and lifelong saints enter heaven through the same gate.” It’s not about when you started the work it’s about where you are at the end of the day when the Master is handing out the payment.
So when I start to get down and I start to think things like “I wish my friends and family were closer” or “I wish I wasn’t ga-ga over a guy I can’t be with” or “I wish I had someone at work to talk with about how to do my job better” or “I wish I wasn’t so lonely all the time”, I can remind myself that God didn’t promise me a perfect life, but He did promise to always be with me, in the ups and the downs and the inbetweens. And there’s definitely comfort in that, but best of all, there’s hope. The future is bright if we chose to live according to God’s rules and not those of the world.
I have no idea if that makes sense to anyone else, but it's what I've been thinking about all day so I thought I'd share.

No comments: