and while we are on the subject...

well, we were on the subject of "things lea wishes God had left out of the Bible"...

it twill be a short subject because of my fear of lightning bolts. and smiting.

but here is one more thing. and it is a parable. really just one line in the parable really irks/resembles/defines/reprimands me.

this parable of the workers in matthew 20...


 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

“About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.  He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he 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.’

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first,

they expected to receive more.

But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend.  Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?  Take your pay and go. I want to give the one 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?’


sigh. i too have those times when i "expected to receive more". the message version says it this way... 

"they assumed they would get far more."

again, they wanted the God of exceedingly more. not the God who keeps His word. who acts differently than we would. who has plans way above our plans. thoughts that we can't even wrap the stars around... and i feel their pain of assumptions gone wrong. of expectations unmet. of complaining to the God who has given me the very breath to complain. and then gives me another breath even though i just complained. the God who doesn't smite. when He has every right to smite.

sometimes i wish He would change that order of who gets paid when in the story. so those that expected more don't see the way this story is playing/paying out. but what would be the "fun" in that? what would be the lesson of goodness and sovereignty and Who really Owns what and Who really owes what. He lets us peek at what His goodness really means by letting the workers who were hired first, the most faithful workers, watch everyone else receive their day's wage... and build up their expectations. accumulate their assumptions... and then... unfulfilled. because there is something more important at stake. perhaps knowing Who is really in charge here is the real point of the parable...

because sometimes/every time we look at facebook we get to see everyone else's paydays first and we need to know Who is in charge... especially when their "paydays" just keep building up our assumptions. and then our "payday" doesn't quite meet those expectations. we begin to grumble. we begin to envy. our "poor poor pitiful me's" reach to the sky...

every time we see someone who is pregnant that doesn't "deserve to be pregnant" when a good friend has just had a miscarriage.

every time we hear about a super de duper vacation that "they" got to go on when we know for sure that "they" went on another super de duper vacation just last month and the month before that.

when someone's kitchen has been remodeled 4 times in 10 years and mine is still sporting the 1950's laminate look.


when someone's child gets into the college of their dreams and your child has no idea what/where/who/when they want/can afford/might or might not get into anywhere.

when a happy happy happy family is all happy happy happy to be together doing happy happy happy holiday things and you can barely DRAG members of your family to help you decorate the tree even when you bribe them with hot chocolate (a very recent personal story. sigh.)

when good people. faithful people. humble people. salt of the earth people. who have worked hard for DECADES lose everything they have financially. and are really past the age to start again.

we were told that God was good and poured out blessings and we assumed those blessing would look like money and vacations and babies galore and happy happy happy families and new laminate countertops and a LINEN CLOSET but He gets to choose the blessings. we get to be grateful. or complain. 

He is good. His goodness to me looks different than His goodness to you. and that has to be fine with me. because He owns it all. and He dispenses grace and mercy the way He dispenses grace and mercy because He owns all grace and mercy also.

selections from psalm 145... 

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,

and his greatness is unsearchable.

 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,

and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,

and I will declare your greatness.

They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness

and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

The Lord is good to all,

and his mercy is over all that he has made.

The Lord is faithful in all his words

and kind in all his works.

The Lord upholds all who are falling

and braises up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look to you,

and you give them their food in due season.

You open your hand;

you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways

and kind in all his works.

Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger - according to the way you react to it. And we have reacted the wrong way.

{c.s. lewis, mere christianity}

God has the right to do with His resources as He desires. how can i be envious when He blesses one person with one thing and then blesses me in other ways? the ways that include laminate countertops and no linen closet and me dancing to "rockin' around the Christmas tree" by myself because no one else really wants to dance and decorate the tree? it is all grace. it is all Goodness. it is all undeserved. unmerited. favor. from His storehouse of awesomness...

Psalm 73 (the message)

 No doubt about it! God is good—

    good to good people, good to the good-hearted.

But I nearly missed it,

    missed seeing his goodness.

I was looking the other way,

    looking up to the people

At the top,

    envying the wicked who have it made,

Who have nothing to worry about,

    not a care in the whole wide world...

What’s going on here? Is God out to lunch?

    Nobody’s tending the store.

The wicked get by with everything;

    they have it made, piling up riches.

I’ve been stupid to play by the rules;

    what has it gotten me?

A long run of bad luck, that’s what—

    a slap in the face every time I walk out the door.

If I’d have given in and talked like this,

    I would have betrayed your dear children.

Still, when I tried to figure it out,

    all I got was a splitting headache . . .

Until I entered the sanctuary of God.

    Then I saw the whole picture:

The slippery road you’ve put them on,

    with a final crash in a ditch of delusions.

In the blink of an eye, disaster!

    A blind curve in the dark, and—nightmare!

We wake up and rub our eyes. . . . Nothing.

    There’s nothing to them. And there never was.

When I was beleaguered and bitter,

    totally consumed by envy,

I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox

    in your very presence.

I’m still in your presence,

    but you’ve taken my hand.

You wisely and tenderly lead me,

    and then you bless me.

You’re all I want in heaven!

    You’re all I want on earth!

“Reflection is the business of man;

a sense of his state is his first duty:

but who remembereth himself in joy?

Is it not in mercy then that sorrow is allotted unto us?”

{william shakespeare}