Friday, December 9, 2016

Whatever Is Right~

"What am I supposed to do with this?"

He stood there, his arms folded across his chest, a look of "I don't know" on his face.

"What am I supposed to do with this?  I've served here seven years. I lose my husband and now I have to sign this paper or I'm terminated immediately? Seven years.  Don't I deserve more than this? What am I supposed to do with this?"

Still, he stood there, his arms folded across his chest, a look of "I don't know" on his face.

And as much as I hate to admit it, I have been wrestling with this even still, even now,
two months later.

Until tonight -
Until God showed me this:

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, "You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you." So they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, "Why have you been standing here idle all day". They said to him, "Because no one hired us." He said to them, "You also go into the vineyard and whatever is right you will receive."

So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, "Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first." And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius.

And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, saying "These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day." But he answered one of them and said, "Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is is not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?" So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen."
~Matthew 20:1-16

Even though the men who had worked all day
received the exact sum they had agreed upon before entering the field,
a denarius,
somehow,
they felt as though they deserved more.

What is it about us humans that always makes us think we know what we deserve?

As I read this story
what captured my heart was not the obvious.
I didn't ponder
the disgruntled workers who had toiled all day,
or the seemingly "unfair" wages given in comparison to hours worked.

What tumbled round and round in my heart was what the landowner said to the
workers hired at the third, the sixth, the ninth, and the eleventh hour.

"You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you."

Unlike those first hired,
these workers stepped into the field
without a clue as to how much they would be receiving for their labor.

They had no idea.

They were simply happy this man had offered them work
and that they had the opportunity to earn something, anything.
Period.

And the part that completely took over my thoughts was this:
These men trusted the landowner.
With no official contract,
with no handshake or deal made,
they trusted whatever was right would be given to them.

So often, we think we know what we deserve.
We think we know what we should be given.

And yet,
here in this parable,
the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart a most beautiful truth:
God doesn't want to give us what we think we deserve,
God wants to give us whatever is right.

The men hired at the third, sixth, ninth, and eleventh hours
could have insisted they knew what their wages would be
before they ever took one step into the vineyard.

They could have asked to receive the equivalent pay
of those already in the field,
based on the hours they worked.

"If you are paying full day workers a whole denarius,
then we who are only working half a day,
will work for half a denarius."

But, they didn't.
They were willing to work and then receive
whatever the landowner thought was "right" to give them.

And, how incredibly generous this landowner was.

Everyone - no matter how long they worked - received a denarius.

The landowner gave them not what they might have felt they deserved,
but what he felt was right to give them.

And what he gave those who trusted him enough to go,
no questions asked,
no dotted line signed,
no handshake exchanged,
was more than they ever imagined.

"What am I supposed to do with this?  I've served here seven years. I lose my husband and now I have to sign this paper or I'm terminated immediately? Seven years.  Don't I deserve more than this? What am I supposed to do with this?"

As I thought back to that day,
back to this conversation,
back to this moment of wanting what I thought I deserved,
I heard God speak to my heart.

"My precious child, 
You are hurt because you don't feel you got what you deserved,
but, don't you see?
Don't you know the heart of Your Father?
I don't want to give you what you think you deserve,
I want to give you whatever is right."

And, then last,
but certainly not least,
there is that last phrase in this parable:
For many are called, but few chosen.

At the start of the day, the landowner had gone out to hire laborers.
No doubt, many men knew the landowner would need workers.
No doubt, many men were probably waiting for the landowner bright and early.
They knew there was work to be done and they were there to answer the call.

These men were called.

Later, though, 
through out the day,
the landowner saw men in the marketplace, standing idle.
When he asked them why they were just standing around doing nothing
they replied, "No one would hire us."

These were the ones who were chosen.

This landowner purposely and personally approached them 
and chose them to work in his field.

The landowner purposely and personally invited them into his field
and longed to give them whatever was right.

Again, as I thought back to that day,
back to that conversation,
back to that moment of wanting what I thought I deserved,
of feeling I should still be where I had been called to work,
I heard God speak to my heart.

"My precious child, 
You are hurt because you feel rejected,
you feel not wanted,
you feel like the workers who replied "No one would hire us",
but, don't you see?
Don't you know the heart of Your Father?
It is I.
I AM inviting you into my field now.
I AM choosing you."

What is it about us humans 
that makes us think we know what we deserve?

What is it about us humans 
that makes us long for the "contractual security" that man can give 
when God, Himself, 
if we will simply trust Him 
no questions asked,
no dotted lines signed,
no handshakes exchanged,
longs to give us whatever is right,
longs to give us so much more?

What is it about us humans 
that makes us long to stay where we are called
when we have been given the opportunity to go where we have been chosen?

The landowner was more than generous, more than kind-hearted, more than deserved.

Our God - 
there is not limit to His generosity, His kindness, His GRACE.

Yes, grace,
That's what this story is about, you know.
God's grace.

Grace that gives more than we deserve.
Grace that doesn't simply call us,
but grace that purposely and personally chooses us.

What is it about us humans that makes it so hard for us to 
receive of His grace?

Up until just a bit ago,
I had been wrestling with
"What am I supposed to do with this?"

But not here,
not tonight,
not now,
not after God showed me this.

What am I supposed to do with this?
Nothing.

Grace,
God's amazing grace,
already took care of it.









Would you like Heartprints of God delivered to your email inbox each day?
 Simply enter your email address below.
If you don't receive a verification email, please check your spam folder.
Sometimes, it is sent there in error.


Delivered by FeedBurner

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving a "heartprint" of your own.