Word for Today – Matthew 20:14-15

Take What Belongs To You and Go

As I read Matthew today, it was just a little too easy to find the “Word for Today”. Before I cracked open my Bible, I asked God to bless with inspiration. Well, he did, and my attitude has become the subject of yet another post. So, here’s another humbling post I must write.

“Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:14-15 NRSV)

Upon first glance it is easy to look at these two verses and walk off without giving “envy” too much thought. However, if we include it with the rest of the parable Jesus told, it opens up a whole new perspective when it comes to envy. I know . . .I lived it a few days ago.

The condensed version of the parable tells of a landowner who hired workers at four different times during the day to work in his vineyard: early morning, noon, about three o’clock, and about five o’clock. Not a big deal. However, when paychecks were distributed at the end of the day, there was some grumbling. Seems that the guys who were brought on later in the day received the same compensation as those who had worked all day! Needless to say, this seemed a gross injustice to the men who had put in a full day’s work.

Even though the circumstances were different, I recently displayed the same indignant attitude. I hadn’t actually worked all day, but I did feel that I had not been given the same consideration as those around me. I struggled trying to reconcile my feelings and not to feel offended, but my perception of being the “outcast” were hard to shake off.

This is what God showed me:

  1. You don’t know the motives of others, so don’t let preconceived ideas eat you up.
  2. It doesn’t matter what others think, or whether they are right or wrong in their assessment of you. I know what’s up.
  3. Do all your work as unto to me and be about your business. I’m the one you are trying to impress.
  4. It really isn’t up to you what others do. It is, however, your choice whether you are affiliated with them or not, and I will guide you in that area.
  5. My generosity is up to me. All you need to do is rejoice with those who rejoice.

So, there you have it. Envy isn’t just the act of coveting what others have. It is a lack of contentment with our own stuff. It also includes negative feelings or perceptions surrounding circumstances when you feel like an outsider. It includes wanting to match others “tit-for-tat” if you feel slighted. It is thinking that you deserve something that maybe you don’t. And, lastly, it’s about harboring ill feelings toward others whether they deserve it or not.

And, what makes this all even worse…if  that is possible…is when we act out of our perceptions and not facts!

This must have been a lesson I really needed to learn, because these words flowed just a little to easy this morning.

Word for Today: Take what belongs to you and go.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 19th, 2010 at 4:10 pm and is filed under Matthew, Word for the Day. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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