Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
Standing around doesn’t tend to accomplish much. In fact, standing around will only serve to waste time and possibly cause everyone to hate you. Why? Very simple. When you are not working, and merely standing around, you are often perceived of as being lazy. Simple truth, nobody wants to work with somebody who is perceived as lazy.
In the twentieth chapter of Matthew’s gospel, Christ Jesus tells a parable. I’ve touched on this parable before. It is the parable of the workers in the vineyard. We all know this story. The owner of a vineyard hires some workers, later he goes out and hires some more workers, later he find yet more workers just standing around, and hires them too. When the work day is done, he pays the last one he hired first, and the first guys to get hired get paid last. The vineyard owner paid everyone the same, and the guys who were hired first got upset about this, never mind that they had agreed to the wage they received.
It is this last group of workers that I want to look at. Why were they not hired until nearly the end of the day? Were they lazy? All we really know is that nobody had hired them, and that the vineyard owner sent them to work his fields, along with the rest of the workers he hired. This also means that during that time that they weren’t working, they were standing idle, not accomplishing anything. We also know that they were resented by the other workers when they received the same pay as those who’d worked the full of the day.
Truthfully, I think we can all understand why they were angry. In the everyday world, to pay more or promote somebody who has not worked very long is a slap in the face to those who’ve worked for a long period of time. While a business may feel justified to do as it will, it really is not good practice to elevate somebody who has only worked a short time over those who have been there a while. The fact of the matter is that the person who gets more pay or promoted above the workers who have been there a while is perceived as lazy, and sadly, in some cases, they are.
I will not dispute the generosity of the vineyard owner. Likewise, I would not dispute a business that hired somebody for particular position if they were genuinely qualified for that position. However, I do dispute unfairly promoting an unqualified individual above those who have had more time in service and are more familiar with a given job, having actually done the job.
Yes. On the last day, the last shall be first; and the first shall be last. However, we must still live in the here and now. To that end, it is a disservice to promote somebody who is a latecomer and has barely done their job above those who’ve been doing the job for a long period. In life, we are not equal, nor can we be. Only in God’s kingdom can we ever be equal, and that can not be done in this life.
The guys in the parable who were hired toward the end of the day were made equal with those hired at the beginning of the day. Why? Because the vineyard owner saw them all as equal. This only proves the generosity of the vineyard owner. The workers hired at the beginning of the day became greedy, when the last guys were paid the same as what the first guys agreed to.
Much like the broom in the picture above, people who stand around, and do not work, accomplish nothing. The Apostle Paul stated it best when he said in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” In truth, anyone who doesn’t actually work doesn’t deserve to get paid, nor promoted.
Whether we do a little or do much, God sees us all equally. However, the workers who do their job are the ones who should be receiving pay and promotions. Just because we are equal before God doesn’t excuse us from working, nor does it give us permission to slight those who have worked hard in favor of those who have barely worked at all. Yes, the workers in the parable felt slighted, but were given what they had honestly earned. The latecomers were given the same by the grace of the vineyard owner, however, grace should not be license to not work.
By grace, God gave his son, Christ Jesus to die for our sins. Let us not use that grace as a license to sin.