Though God’s truth accommodates our humanness, there are still many passages that are beyond our full comprehension. This is a good thing for it compels us to continue studying & searching for His truth that will ultimately set us free from all things that bind us. Still there are times when we are perplexed by His truth.
For me Matthew 20:1-16 was one of those passages.
It’s a parable about a vineyard owner going out & hiring a bunch of workers throughout the day at different times to work in his vineyard. The problem rose at the end of the day when these workers were getting paid. To our surprise, everyone received the same amount. Those who worked the longest obviously complain, and bring up the fact that they deserve more or those who worked less deserve less.
This question of what we deserve or what we are entitled to is often raised as we go through life, even as missionaries.
The same question is asked by Peter (Matthew 19:27) when he said, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” One effect of entitlement is that it often blinds us from seeing blessings that God has already bestowed upon our lives.
Sometimes I too wish that things were better, easier & that we were more fruitful. I think about what I deserve as a missionary.
I still haven’t made my point, but please read on.
Right now I’m reading The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian. When Hitler came into power, he had the option to stay safe in America, but chose to go back to his home country. To his concerned friends, he explained, “I shall have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people…” He gave up his right for security & comfort so that he may be part of something glorious later.
What the parable I mentioned at the beginning and what Bonhoeffer want to explain is that what God has extended to us is something that none of us deserve, to be a part of God’s vineyard, harvest field or kingdom whatever you want to call it. The fact that the Master has called us to serve in His vineyard is a privilege in itself and we would be a fool not to give up lesser things to be part of it.
I am not trying to undermine hardships, difficulties or suffering we may go through in life. There are times when I feel like crying myself, but the truth is our Lord has made it crystal clear from the beginning what working in His vineyard would entail.
The greatest blessing of working in His vineyard is this. Whether we are sowing seeds, cultivating, experiencing a drought, or harvesting, it does not matter. The greatest blessing is that our Lord is constantly working beside us & with us. This He promises to everyone working in His vineyard wherever that may be. May Jesus’ gentle presence continue to bring peace & joy in our hearts!