Saturday, July 18, 2009
Slackers in the vineyard
Before I retired, I used to say that I got my last job so I wouldn't have to work. It is true that I enjoyed almost everything about that job and it really wasn't one of those things that make "work" a "four letter word." I was thinking about that along with Jesus parable about the man who hired workers for his vineyard, hiring some early, then later, etc. (Matt 20:1-16) It strikes me that, like the workers who were first in the vineyard, there is an attitude among Christians of sort of "doing all the work," maybe even of "suffering for the cause" that makes it seem just a little unfair that those who have not done so much should receive the same reward as those who have served so long, and let's not even consider those who never lifted a finger in this life. This makes it a little tough to swallow the idea that God just might eventually allow everyone to come into a relationship in love. Now, I really believe that when Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10) He meant now, not in some future beyond death. I see it in the joy of living in God's love and in sharing that love. I have not really suffered, but I have had enough reverses to know that even in trouble, it is not so much what happens as how we deal with it that really matters, and God's love gives us tools to deal with problems and even suffering in positive ways. I'm not saying that suffering is good, but that, if it's going to come it is far better to have and use those "tools" than to turn bitter and self pitying. So, "working in the vineyard" is, in its own way, a reward in itself. By me, to those who come late, let them have an extra measure of God's love, they did without it so much longer than I did.