Do We Deserve Better From God?
â€œIt was hard to be content with our weather this week,â€ I told Ed yesterday. Every day that I wanted to get at trimming the shrubs around our condo building, the rain was determined to stop me and my electric clippers.
My old neighbor in Saskatchewan was not phased by my sad story of unemployment due to the rain. He said since I live an hour from the Pacific Ocean, I should expect rain, and work harder and faster when it isnâ€™t raining. Little does Ed realize that my days of working faster and harder are gone, and unlikely to return without a new knee or hip, or an assistant I can watch do my work.
Ed is determined that since I trim and weed the gardens as a volunteer at our condo building without pay, that it shows that I lack common sense. My old neighbor questions why I would work for nothing? Ed argues that if I didnâ€™t do the lawn cutting and shrub trimming, they would have to hire a lawn service or gardener. They should pay me almost equal to a lawn service. He says maybe a little less because Iâ€™m old, grumpy, and slow. As always, I told Ed that he could be right, and he knew I was ignoring him.
Ed’s conviction that I need a better wage than I’m getting reminded me of a parable of Jesus. The parable goes by the title, “Laborers for the Vineyard.” In the story, the owner of a vineyard went out early to hire day laborers to work in his vineyard. Men wanting to work for the day would go to the marketplace and wait there in the hopes of getting hired. The owner of the vineyard went to the market at 6:00 A.M. and hired workers agreeing to pay them a denarius or penny for their work for the day in his vineyard. The owner went back to the marketplace at 9:00 A.M. and hired more workers that were there for his vineyard. At noon and 3 P.M., the owner hired more workers, telling them, “Go work in my vineyard, and I will give you whatever is right at the end of the day.” About 5:00 P.M., the owner saw idle men at the marketplace, so, he also sent them into his vineyard.
When the evening came, the owner told his foreman to call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last hired to the first hired. Those hired last at 5:00 P.M. received a denarius, and so did all the workers. Those hired first who had worked the whole day got the same as those who worked the least amount in the day. Those who worked longest grumbled that all the workers received the same payment. The workers hired first were genuinely offended that there was equal pay for everyone. They felt they deserved more than the last workers.
Jesus said that with God, the last will be first and the first last for God’s love is equal for all. Jesus is the first and the last, the beginning and the end. God does not give us what we deserve but better than we deserve in His generous salvation for all believers in Jesus Christ.