Conscientious parents scold their children for bad behavior! They won’t tolerate a display of angry envy and resentment when someone else is honored, when they are given a gift, or receive a generous act of kindness. The tragedy? Sometimes adults (even the very parents who did the scolding) behave in the very same away that they would not tolerate in their children.
Thought of that as I read the parable Jesus told of the landowner who paid his workers who labored in his vineyard… The story goes that he went out very early in the morning and hired some workers looking for work in the city square, agreeing on their wages for the day… About 9 a.m. he went back and hired some more, and then again at noon, 3 p.m., and again at 5 p.m. Time came to settle up with those he had hired… And he paid them all the same amount – the amount he had agreed upon!
I can just imagine the outcry… the complaining! This is how the Bible describes it…
“Each one received the standard wage! When they received it, they began to complain against the landowner, saying, ‘These last fellows worked one hour, and you have made them equal to us who bore the hardship and burning heat of the day!’ And the landowner replied to them, ‘Friend, I am not treating you unfairly. Didn’t you agree with me to work for the standard wage? Take what is yours and go. I want to give to this last man the same as I gave to you. Am I not permitted to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’” (Matthew 20:10–15 NET)
I don’t know if you’ve ever struggled with the insidious evil attitude of envy, resent or anger when God blesses someone else, they are honored, or when they prosper… I have to admit the evil head of the “envy monster” has risen a time or two in my life! I’d scold my children for that! Oh God, cleanse my heart from that attitude! May I learn to “weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice!” (1 Corinthians 12:26) May I learn to accept what I’ve been granted with gratitude and rejoice when God blesses another with His wonderful “grace gifts” – “one grace on top of another!” (John 1:16)