Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Do you begrudge my generosity?
Matthew 20: 15
I want to build on last weeks thoughts regarding jealousy and envy using this parable about the Laborers in the Vineyard.
Our scripture is the culmination of the parable regarding the master who hires workers for a day in his vineyard. The Master is interested in reaping his crop. He wants to get the job done so he's looking at all hours of the day for willing laborers.
We find that at the end of the day (a 12 hour shift) he starts with those he hired last and pays them the agreed wage. The ones who were hired first, in line watching this, and having borne the "burden and heat of the day" expected to receive more. "On receiving it [their pay] they grumbled at the master of the house". I love the word study on "grumble". From Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words it shows ~ an onomatopoeic word, representing the significance by the sound of the word, as in the word “murmur” itself.
They were unhappy and complaining about the fairness of this all, which is where we get into trouble and are tempted to find fault with someone. Remember from last week’s study that jealousy and envy had to do with fear and insecurity in our own hearts. The workers accusation landed on the Master, who replies, "I've done you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go." Jesus went on to say, the last will be first, and the first last. He doesn’t think the first workers are hard done by for receiving what was agreed upon. This stands as a sure standard for us all in the last days. Our wages will be paid according to our work agreement totally independent of anothers'.
Envy was defined as a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another, joined with a desire to possess the same advantage, or for the other to lack it. So we see displayed in this parable, the first workers holding an expectation that created a wrong judgment of the Master. From this judgment, they accuse him of being unfair, which of course, we find the Master rebukes.
Do we begrudge the generosity of the Lord when our expectations are unmet and others are blessed?
The KJV asks, "Is your eye evil, because I am good?"
NLT, " Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?"
NASB, "Or is your eye envious because I am generous?"
The right answer should be, “Of course not! “ The issue of heart that must be dealt with is our own fear and insecurity where we question God’s goodness to us, for any reason.
The examples we find in the Bible are to show us, again and again, the heart of our Father and the goodness He brings into ALL lives. Let us rejoice, always, over His goodness. Let us receive with thanksgiving what belongs to us and learn to be content with the good things He gives to us.