I have always found this Gospel passage to be difficult to accept. There’s a strong part of me that craves rules to be followed, duties to be done, and dues to be paid. I want order and logical rules with appropriate consequences for most things in life. I value personal responsibility and integrity strongly. I don’t like to see people do half the work but get the same reward as someone who puts in a solid day’s work.
“Are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:15)
Jesus is giving us this parable not to talk about work and responsibility, but to tell us of life in the Kingdom of God. Jesus is saying that we are all welcomed fully into the Kingdom no matter our past, our history, our mistakes. If we repent and want to live with Christ, we are welcomed and showered with grace because our God is generous.
I think the truth of why I have difficulty with this parable isn’t because I value responsibility, but because I feel unworthy of God’s infinite generosity. His generosity is not just meant for them, it’s meant for me. I receive it everyday whether I see and feel it or not. I am deeply uncomfortable with how unworthy I am of this fountain of grace. I know I am the last worker, yet will receive God’s goodness just the same. The Kingdom of God is not made up of the worthy, it is made up of the unworthy. We have all sinned, we have all needed God’s generosity, His forgiveness, His salvation. Jesus wants us to see in ourselves our need for Him, but to also know that His generosity is beyond our imagination and He extends it to everyone, including ourselves.
Where can I see God’s generosity in my life today? Add thanks and praise to God in your prayer time today for His generosity to you, in the big things and the little things.
Christy Isinger is a wife and mom to five lovely, loud children and lives in northern Canada. When not homeschooling, she is a devoted reader of English literature from Jane Austen to Agatha Christie. She writes about the beauty of faith, life, and the home at her blog and is the co-host of the Fountains of Carrots Podcast. You can find out more about her here.