For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them,‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”
[I am at SXSW this week, delighting in some of my favorite things: artists, stories and friends. But every year this week brings with it ever increasing anxiety. The more I enjoy something, the more panicked I become that something might sabotage my experience. I wrote this to a friend in an email yesterday, and thought I’d share.]
It feels like fear. It feels like panic, crouching and creeping in the corners of my heart. But how can that be? What threat do I face? What is so precious to me that I will kill and strategize to keep it safe?
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the LORD? (Psalm 14:4 ESV)
Alright guys, time to stop eating up people like we eat food and instead call upon the Lord. I know, I know. You don’t think you eat people, but you do. We all do every single time we use people to fill a need in us that is designed to be met in God alone.
We feel anxiety and panic after that meeting with our boss or conversation with a friend, and instead of calling upon the Lord, we turn to people. We eat up their words, eat up their affirmation seeking to satisfy our hunger for approval.
What kind of God are you?
That question has been tossed heavenward more times then I can count. It’s deeply knitted into the heartbeat of my faith; always pulsing, constant and steady, in the weeping and the wonder.
I breathed it out in worship on December 6th last year. Knowing that you are worthy, and knowing that your worth is beyond comprehension, so in awe of all you had done and all you were doing I sang that question heavenward: what kind of God are you?
There are curves up ahead; bends in this twisting turning road that is my life.
For the longest time, whenever I’ve looked ahead, all I have been able to see is the same straight path laid out before me. The shifts in the trajectory of my life have come without warning: the sin struggles I never anticipated, the news of cancer and death. While the shock of the unexpected brought its own level of wreckage and pain, it carried a grace: deliverance from the waiting and the wondering and the anticipation.