Generous Yes, But Why?
Jesus told a story of a landowner who hired people to work in his vineyard even though there was only 1 hour left in the workday.
The story revealed to us something of God’s value system and how He manages His kingdom.
We saw that God extends grace to humans and He is generous to them, but He is not moved to make decisions based on our sense of entitlement or human expectations.
All good, but the question of ‘why’ still remains. Why was God so generous in paying a full day’s wage to someone who worked only 1 hour?
The answer reveals the fourth ‘kingdom’ value presented in the story.
4. Compassion: God has compassion, and it leads Him to show mercy.
In the book of Exodus God shared a summary of Himself with Moses. He had invited Moses up a mountain and here is what He said…
“The Lord, the Lord , the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”(Exodus 34:6-7 NIV)
Ok, let’s get back to the 5 o’clock people to sort out why God’s compassion moved Him to extend such generosity to them.
Where were they all day? How come they were only hired at 5 o’clock?
Maybe they were lazy and slept in.. maybe they had some errands and didn’t show up for work until 5 pm… maybe the oxcart broke down or the kids had the flu.
Maybe they lost their zeal for serving the Lord.. or maybe they thought getting a regular day job with guaranteed income was better than working in the kingdom with a promise for their pay.
On reading this, does any of it describe you? Maybe I should ask, does any of this even make sense to you?
In our story Jesus said …
About five o’clock he (the landowner) went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’(Matthew 20:6-7 NIRV)
God paid them a full day’s wage even though they worked for only an hour because despite the fact that they were available and willing to work, they never got hired.
What we see here is that God values and blesses intent, just as much as outcomes.
We humans tend to assess our lives based on outcomes.. we measure success based on outcomes.. we look up to people based on outcomes.. we motivate ourselves based on success stories.
God values and blesses intent. God responds more to what is in our hearts, than He does to what is in our hands.
So, to all of my 5 o’clock friends, and any others who have desire of heart to do ‘greater things’ with their lives but never had opportunity, be encouraged.
God, who is gracious generous and compassionate, knows your heart.
He is not moved by the expectations of humans or their feelings of entitlement.
But He is moved by the intent of our heart.
As the writer of Psalm 2 says …
Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.
Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.(Psalm 2:10-12 NIV)
Bless Me Please God.