Thursday, March 8, 2012

Take the Dollar

I have heard this particular scripture at least 4 times in the past week and finally today, my 9 year old son says, "You know, like the people that were hired at different times and all made the same amount of money."  God speaks to me through my children often and this time I took notice.  So before I go any further, the passage:
Matthew 20 (The Message)A Story About Workers 
1 "God's kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work.3 "Later, about nine o'clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. 4 He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage.5 They went. 6 At five o'clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, 'Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?7 ' "They said, 'Because no one hired us.' "He told them to go to work in his vineyard.8 "When the day's work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, 'Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.'9 "Those hired at five o'clock came up and were each given a dollar. 10 When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar.11 Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager,12 'These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.'13 "He replied to the one speaking for the rest, 'Friend, I haven't been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn't we? 14 So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. 15 Can't I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?'16 "Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first."
The Lord showed me some time ago through prophetic words from some well-known men and women of God that He is about to bring in a great harvest.  I believe this to be true.  At the time I had been praying for several prodigals that I know as well as many that I've never heard of.  He told me simply that the church is not ready for the return of the prodigal.  Not speaking just about the church I attended, but the church as a whole.  We feel entitled to the titles that we currently have.  We feel that we've served our time faithfully and that we should be rewarded with kingdom promotions and esteem.
I saw a scenario where someone, whom I had watched make bad choices, came back just as I had prayed and then was promoted to a position above me.  Even though it was not a reality, but a vision of sorts, I became immediately offended.  Why should I, who has served faithfully and proven my worth, not become the leader and this one who just returned from the slop heap, be under me?  I deserve to be in charge?  Reading this, one might think that I sound petty, but I dare you to put yourself in that scenario.  Are you any less petty?
I have recently relocated to a new town, a new home and a new church.  In fact, I've only been in this church for about 3 weeks and so I'm asking God, why do I need to hear this lesson about the workers?  I'm one of the most recent hired.
 --- This might sound a bit strange, but the Lord's been dealing with me to type this blog for a few days now and I didn't know where it was going until I started typing.  In fact I knew I was to hold off on the title until it was complete and I am just now finding out why. ---
He doesn't want me to be afraid to take the dollar even though I just started the job and those ahead of me will receive the same wage.  I've been so convicted about my seniority issues that I've held for years and now I am seeing a whole new view to this, "inside, outside, upside-down Kingdom."  I'm so undone right now, I can hardly go on.  How can I "take the dollar" and still be humble?  It's that fine line between confidence and humility.  If one does not take what the Lord gives to them in the name of humility, it is false-humility and disobedience.  Isn't it He who qualified me?  Isn't it He who offered for me to join in His work?
I believe this message is for the prodigals as well.  He is calling you home.  He has a place for you and He intends for you to take it.  Sure, there will be those who are offended by your growth in Him, but Who has called you?  Who has named you?  Where does your fear and trembling lie?  Do you fear God or man?  He is the one pulling you up from the miry clay.  Stand on the Rock!
Now that I have at least a portion of the answer to my question, I have more questions.
No matter where you stand in the line of workers: first, second, fifth or last hired; trust that God is the one who offers the wage/reward and we need to trust that He knows what He is doing.

Take my focus from the wage, to the work, Lord.  Most importantly let my focus be on the One who called me in the first place.  Help me to have confidence in You alone and what You have for me to do.  Help me to do it with all my might and keep my eyes on You!

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