Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Tough Parable to Swallow

So I’ve talked about certain things as being “above my pay grade” right?

Here is a perfect example of what I am talking about.

Check out The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard.
The general idea is that the landowner is God, the people are us, and the work is the work that God wants us to do for Him here in this world. The denarius is salvation.
So in the morning he hires some workers for a denarius. Then every several hours he hires more workers until the end of the day. All of the workers come to collect their money. He starts by giving the most recently hired workers a denarius. The original workers are like:
YES! We’re finsta get paid!
But to their surprise as he goes down the line of workers, the landowner pays everyone a denarius. The original workers are heated. I spent all day working in this hot sun and I’m getting paid the same as these Johnny come lately cats? For real?
That kinda sucks.
Then the landowner (God) says the following
"But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?' – Matthew 20: 13-15

Ewwww… I don’t like that.

Here is the extreme real world example: Jeffrey Dahmer.

Dude killed seventeen people.


It goes without saying that he probably was not a nice person.

But check this out… when he was in jail his father sent him some Christian materials and after viewing it he declared faith in Jesus and that he was a born again Christian.


This is something that bothered me for a long time. I live my life in faith in Jesus, trying to be the best person I can be, and I get the same reward as this clown?

That’s not fair.

But then I thought about it. What if I were in God’s position? What would I do? How generous would I be? How would I judge Jeffrey Dahmer? What is the criterion? Would that same criterion convict me, or my friends, or my family?

This whole judging thing is a tough job.

What I love about Jesus’ message is that the standard that we have to live up to is one of faith and love. We believe, and then that faith works through the instrument of love over time to transform us into a new, more loving person. And when we fall short we can be forgiven.

Why is it ok for me to be forgiven and not ok for Jeffrey?

These questions are more than difficult. They are impossible for our little minds.

It’s hard enough for us to know what’s going in on our own hearts and minds. Why would we think we can possibly know what was going on in Jeffrey’s heart when he was behind bars?

I’m not saying this to excuse dude. I’m not even saying that I think he is or is not in heaven.

I have no idea and odds are you don’t either.

What I am saying though is that I’m glad that I don’t have to make that decision.

Walking my own path is hard enough.

Today’s Reading: Exodus 23-24: Matthew 20: 1-16

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A Convo With God by Clarence Mitchell III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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