Sweat Equity

I was reading recently in Matthew 20 about the land owner who hired all the day laborers. As I read, I felt the familiar chaffing in response to the “unfairness” of the last workers receiving the same as the those who’d toiled all that livelong day in the vineyard.

It has always bothered me that those who had barely broken a sweat received the exact same wage from the landowner as those who had sweat and labored from sunup to sundown in this parable. And then it hit me –

Have I lived my entire adult life as if my eternal abode was earned with good old fashioned sweat equity?



I’ve been pondering this for weeks now.

On the one hand, I do not believe sweat equity has a place in God’s House. I believe the moment we begin to think that any thing we can do will earn God’s favor in any way, we have missed the point of grace. And God is ALL ABOUT GRACE!

On the other hand, the chaffing I receive every single time I read that parable is undeniable proof that some part of me clings to the idea that I can earn God’s grace. That I can behave my way into Heaven. That I can do enough good works to change God’s mind about my sin. And I can’t.

No one can. And that’s good news!

The saint that’s been raised in the church (ie. me) is offered the same grace as the death row inmate walking to his execution (ie “real sinners”).

That is what I’m beginning to truly wrap my mind around as I read the Word this year – G R A C E.

How about you?

I’m embracing feedback this year. Please leave yours in the comments – the good, the bad, the indifferent. I’d love to hear from you.




Ministry in the Menial

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife, Rembrandt, 1634, Rembrandt House Musueum
Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife, Rembrandt, 1634, Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam

Wrongfully despised.

Wrongfully enslaved.

Wrongfully imprisoned.

Wrongfully forgotten.

Joseph’s life didn’t start off on easy street. It would have been understandable if he had thrown up his hands in defeat by the time he was behind bars in Egypt. Instead, Joseph walked the bumpy road of his life focused on serving, not on self.

  • When enslaved in Potiphar’s house, Joseph served righteously.
  • When imprisoned for doing right by his master, Joseph served faithfully.
  • When the cupbearer forgot him, Joseph continued to serve in prison steadfastly.

Joseph purposed to serve as working for the Lord, not for human masters – wherever he was.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. – Colossians 3:23

Through his serving, through the thousands of menial tasks he performed as a slave and prisoner, through the faithfulness of whatever he did, Joseph added to his good reputation one faithful day at a time.

PONDER: What difficulties in your life focus your attention on self rather than the Savior? What menial, daily tasks of yours could be turned into ministry if your focus was on serving God instead of serving man?

PRAYER: Father, thank You for giving me something to work with my hands every day. Thank You for the countless opportunities you have granted me to serve those around me. Thank You for every job I have that goes unthanked, unappreciated or unnoticed. Help me to praise You with my hands as I do my work unto You, every day. May I seek to serve You, wholeheartedly, all the days of my life.