I am not saying Jesus doesn’t give us high self-worth, He does. “Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well.” Ps 139:14 But I am also a sinner through and through. It isn’t hard to be caught playing the fool, acting carelessly or thoughtlessly, judging another or just holding back my love and acceptance from a fellow human being.
The more I am aware that I don’t have to play a part, that who I am is riddled with faults and failures; I am set free to know truly the good that comes from my life is an act of God’s grace. He designs it. He orchestrates it. He performs it. It is a symphony of life notes, sometimes notes of discord other times a melody of pure unbridled love. I can be free to be myself, a struggling human being. It is a great relief indeed, no pretense, no artificial role to play, no appearances to keep up. Charlie Brown, welcome one more stumble bum who can’t quite kick that blasted football.
Thank you God that I am at all times accepted in the Beloved. I am His and He is mine. The great lover of our souls loves me. I am a believer who wants to seek the good in the world, to see the beautiful, the worthy, that which I can commend and imitate. I believe that the goodness of God still prevails on our earth. That hope and kindness still live within the hearts of man. That the sacred scriptures call us to account and lead us into paths of righteousness. That faith, even small faith, is powerful to change the course of a life or a world. That God is in extraordinary control and the end of all things is brilliant with perfect victory.
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What’s your idea of fairness? Matthew 20:1-16 teaches us that our personal concept of fairness may not always be in agreement with Gods. This parable goes a long way toward opening our eyes to the heart of a God who is much more than fair.
In first century Israel there was so much to do whether planting, cultivating, or harvesting the vineyards. It was hard physical labor working in the heat of summer. And so the owner of one vineyard went out very early in the day to hire workers. At 6:00 in the morning he hired laborers for a whole denarius, a Roman soldiers pay for a day. At intervals throughout the day three more groups of laborers were hired all for the same pay. They were grateful for their work until this climatic moment. What! Is it fair to give all the same amount? “Those fellows worked only one hour and yet you’ve paid them just as much as those of us who worked all day in the scorching heat.” Matthew 20:11, 12 TLB
Do we have the right to dictate how the landowner pays his workers? Wasn’t his decision to pay the same an act of mercy? Our demand of fairness from God reveals more about us than we would like. Could this be exposing attitudes of selfish ambition and pride? “The world’s definition of fairness is based on the sliding scale of society’s values and the changing will of the majority. But God doesn’t buy that definition. That’s why He will never be ‘fair’ from society’s perspective. His values are higher, far exalted above yours. His timetable is different… that’s why I praise you for being just, not fair.” Joni Earekson Tada
As believers in Christ we must put aside a competitive spirit and think like Jesus. In Jesus’ day people often felt superior because of their heritage or faithful obedience to the law. But salvation, God’s great act of mercy, is not an elite privilege for a few but a worldwide invitation to all. As we struggle in a world that often lacks attitudes of mercy and justice we can remember Jesus gives us something far greater than fairness. He lived the sum total of mercy and justice. This is the wonderful grace of Jesus.
Wonderful Grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin;
How shall my tongue describe it,
Where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden, setting my spirit free;
O the Wonderful Grace of Jesus reaches me!