By: Hannah Schelling
Jesus aims at what is at the center of things. I’m sure you’ve heard a million times, “look at the bigger picture” or “this is part of a bigger plan”. These are true statements, although sometimes hard to see. We often find ourselves in situations where we feel tested/stretched and wonder if we are strong enough to make it. God doesn’t cause our struggles but he sure does use them to develop things in us if we allow him. Do you find yourself in a situation or with a person today where you feel things like, jealousy, anger, frustration, sadness, or confusion. In the book of Matthew, the hired laborers can most definitely testify to God’s way of testing us, and how to receive his blessings.
In Matthew chapter 20, a landowner hired workers early in the morning and these workers agreed to work for a penny a day. These group of men had been working hard labor since the sun came up, then comes the middle of the day and the landowner hired a second set of workers. These men also agreed to work for a penny a day. As the working day comes to an end, the landowner lines up all of his men and pays them from the amount of work done from least to most. If the landowner had paid the men who have been there since the sun came up first, would they leave as soon as they got their money? I know I would. Who would want to wait around any moment longer after receiving what you have worked all day long? But the landowner wanted the first set of men to watch as the second set of men got paid first. This is because God is seeking people who can be entrusted with a “hundred times as much”.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. (Matthew 19:29)
To be trusted with anything, we have to show we are trustworthy and often there are things in us that need to be developed and areas we need to grow. Maybe God might be allowing you or I to walk through a situation where our buttons are being pushed, maybe jeleousy, to see if we can actually rejoice in somebody else’s breakthrough.
The first set of men were not treated unjustly, they were paid for their work, the second set of men were just treated with abundant grace. How often do you and I get these abundant grace from God in our own life that we don’t deserve? Yet it was hard for these first set of workers to celebrate and rejoice in the second set of workers being treated with such grace. I mean they did work half the hours and paid the same.
The Lord gives us these moments as opportunities to see our character. Maybe He wants to see if we are capable of rejoicing in others moments of grace. Can we handle the promotion that he wants to give he might need to see some of the fruit of our character displayed. He wants to make sure we are ready. This doesn’t have to be portrayed in just working conditions. What about in school? Have you ever studied all week and all night before a big test the next day, and your friend who didn’t study at all makes the same grade as you? How annoying right! You worked so hard for that good grade, and someone who didn’t try half as hard got the same good reward. Or maybe you’ve been working extra long hours, picking up shifts to save for a new car, and another one of your friends gets it handed to them. These are just a few examples that can be related to the parable of the hired laborers. It may seem unfair and frustrating, but our God never puts us in situations like this to shame, condemn, or belittle us, rather to grow us and give us an opportunity to show our character and our maturity. Maybe he is working to prepare us for our promotion or our blessing. God is looking for people that he can trust with everything, every situation, and every emotion.
To be used by God, we are to be molded. To be transformed, to be changed and made in his image. If we do not walk through tough situations and grow then how can we ever learn how to receive grace as well as to give grace unto others? We cannot be molded, if we are not moldable. If we are not ready to say, “Here I am Lord, use me.” It takes a lot from a person to be able to stand back and watch someone else get credit, or be rewarded for something that is so near to your own heart or something that you yourself have waited and worked so long and hard for. But it is all about the promises God has given us, it is all about the bigger picture,. Jesus. He says that he will reward us with everlasting life, those who have left things near to their heart. (Matthew 19:29) That although you have waited and watched others before you receive so much, you will receive a hundred times more.