Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 9, 2017
Am I not lawfully permitted to do what I choose with what is mine? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’ So those who are last [in this world] shall be first [in the world to come], and those who are first, last. Matthew 20:15-16, Amplified Bible
Love equally, but give uniquely. This is an approach we have tried to apply with our four daughters, sometimes with success and sometimes with trial and error. When our oldest was considering college we had saved up enough for out of state tuition to be an option, which she chose and we willingly paid over four years. But our selections were limited to in-state colleges for the remaining three girls because our income had declined and we didn’t believe school debt was a wise choice. We loved all four girls equally, but we invested in their education uniquely.
Jesus tells an insightful story that illustrates the uniqueness of God’s generosity to His children. On the surface, the employee wages paid by a wealthy landowner seem unfair, but upon further explanation, Jesus describes a much larger Kingdom purpose to His parable. New believers who labor in the Kingdom of God are as highly valued as servants of the Lord who have given of themselves for years. Our heavenly Father loves to give generous gifts to His children–newborns in the faith or those who have been faithful for years. The Lord’s unique generosity is cause for celebration, not complaining. Envy feels exploited, while gratitude radiates joy!
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:31-32).
Are you struggling with a family member or co-worker who receives preferential treatment? You work harder, you are smarter, but you do not receive equal recognition or remuneration.
Consider giving the object of your envy words of congratulations with a celebratory spirit. Otherwise envy harbored in a heart can easily grow into resentful outcomes that fuel anger and steal joy. However, when you release your envy by being grateful for God’s blessings and refuse to compare your life to another’s, you are free to enjoy contented living. Jesus gives uniquely!
Most of all, grow your generous service in God’s Kingdom. Look to the Lord as owner of all you have and ask Him how He wants you to manage His assets. As you labor for the Lord do not be distracted but inspired by others who hopefully work at a pace determined by God’s grace. As the world continues to decline into chaos, model the Lord’s unchanging truth by how you value what He values: prayer, hard work, generous giving, a joyful attitude, and gratitude for another’s good fortune. You give like Jesus as you look for opportunities to give generously and uniquely. Your faithful labor for the Lord may look like last place to a lost world, but in heaven many like you are first.
“You who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first” (Matthew 19:28-30).
PrayerHeavenly Father, thank you for the generous example of Jesus, in His name I pray, amen.
ApplicationAm I envious toward another's remuneration and resentful about my feeling of under-appreciation? If so, how can I celebrate with them, support them and be content with my compensation?
Related ReadingJob 36:11; Psalm 131:2; Proverbs 19:23; Luke 3:14; Philippians 4:11-12
Post/Tweet todayYour faithful labor for the Lord may look like last place to a lost world, but in heaven you are first. #WisdomHunters #givelikeJesus
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