Monday, April 15, 2013

Feeling Entitled?

Last week and this week at HUB we talked about the idea of "deserving." We have our own standards, shaped by our society, of what we believe we deserve and what we believe others deserve. If we work hard, we believe we deserve to be recognized and honored. If we feel we work harder than the next, we certainly better get recognized over them. When we don't, and the other man wins out, our bitterness, and pretenses of anger and life being completely unfair tend to cloud our judgement. We feel so justified. But does Jesus work under the same principles as we do?
If we look to Matthew 20:1-16, I believe we'll find he certainly does not.

“For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work. “At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing. “At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’ “They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’“The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’ “That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’ “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’ “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”
Matthew 20:1-16 is not what we expect. We are just like the 6 am vineyard workers: astounded when God blesses those we have deemed aren't fit to receive his blessings. God is so excited about all of his children turning back to him, all of his children coming home to him. Perhaps those who come to Christ early in life feel it unfair that those who come later in life will have the same blessings and benefits. Shouldn't we too be rejoicing with the Father?
To what do you feel entitled: Someone's affections, someone's forgiveness, a title or honor, a grade, a starting sports position? 
But isn't it the case with God that we really don't deserve anything, and yet even in our poor state, he lavishly pours his blessings upon us?
So who are you? The grateful 5pm worker, or the assuming 6am worker? Whichever you are - it will affect your entire attitude towards life, others, and God.

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