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 canearn God’s grace. That I canbehave my way into Heaven. That I cando 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.
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
One ordinary day years ago, I decided on a whim to go upstairs to see how the younger kids were progressing with learning to do their new chores. It had actually been a couple of months since I had been upstairs (gasp!), so the time was ripe. I was happy to see that their bedrooms were passable. The hallway was vacuumed. The shelves were in order. I was pleased with what I saw – until I went into the bathroom. In the bathroom, I was greeted by this ghastly sight –
Truthfully, I wanted to replace the toilet on the spot! My stomach turns even now at the memory of it. After much soaking, many chemicals, long sessions on my knees hunched over the toilet with my hands inside that awful abyss (ew!) expending way more elbow grease than I thought I had in me, the toilet was clean.
We are like the upstairs toilet. We are dirty. We are stained with sin. We are unable to make ourselves clean. The Good News is that we don’t have to be! God didn’t wait for us to be cleaned up, sparkling & white, before He reached out to us. He did it while we were still sinners through His one and only son, Jesus.
The Upstairs Toilet is one of thirty devotionals I’ve been asked to write this year as part of a friend’s year-long devotional project. You can read more short devotionals like this by clicking here or the Devotionals tab at the top of this page.