Begrudge God?

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.   

The Green Eyed Monster

The anatomy of jealousy and envy ~  Luke 17:27-31


27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’”

28 “But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him.

29 But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never 1neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends;

30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’”

31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.’”


First off I want to emphasis this thought seen in verse 31 in the phrase all that is mine is yours. Where we are able to rest in our heart and soul, knowing our place in our Heavenly Father is secure, we are well able to resist thoughts and feelings that come to tempt us to jealousy and envy.  Jealousy and envy are only and always displaced by love.  


Jealousy is defined, which I found very interesting, as thoughts or feelings of insecurity, fear, and concern over a relative lack of possession.  It can either be suspicious or reactive.  These feelings emote anger, resentment, inadequacy, helplessness, disgust.   I think we can all say we’ve tased these.  


Envy is 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.  


I found the association of fear and insecurity within the definition of jealousy so interesting and envy just doesn’t want another to be blessed.   We are well aware of the biblical instructions not to allow jealousy and envy to work in us, but personal insecurity gives access to these spiritual forces.  


Change can bring an unsettling to our sense of security, even in those times and areas we are confident in our obedience to the Father’s instruction.  Many of us find ourselves in a place of seasonal transition, but may I remind us all; God takes us from faith to faith, strength to strength and glory to glory.  We are ever increasing in the Kingdom of God, or at least we certainly have the potential to do so.  We can all sit down and feed on the tasty feelings of jealousy and envy and pity ourselves or we can stay rooted and grounded in the love of God and celebrate with the Father everyone’s every obedient act of service displayed.


John the Baptist knew his time and season; Jesus must increase, he must decrease, but at the moment of his imprisonment he is stumbling over his own perceived expectations.  From there, John sent and asked, “Are you the one or do we look for another?”  


The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “What do you have that you have not received?” Who are you but a vessel God uses to do His will and purpose?  We are simply a part of a bigger picture and we must honor the individual parts that God honors.  If I do not value and honor the part, I cannot receive what God is saying and doing through that vessel.  So I’m not just rejecting the part (the member of His body) I am in fact rejecting Him.  


Jealous and Envy shut the door on our receptivity.  They are wiles and strategies the enemy uses to bring division, first in our hearts in our relationship with the Father and then with the members of His body.  Note in our verses today, how the son was offended with his Father and then refused to celebrate in the blessing of his brother.  Who really suffered in all this?  


Another’s blessing, exaltation, favour or honour, should show us the goodness of God and His love for us all.  What he does for one displays His character and nature and should encourage our hearts and strengthen the awareness in us, “All that is mine is yours”.