That Doesn’t Mean That We Have to Be Negative
The Scripture used in Pastor Lee’s message this week is one that I used to struggle with. In Matthew 20:1-16 Jesus tells His followers a story about a man who hired people to work in his vineyard. Several times throughout the day the landowner went back and hired more people. Even as the day was coming to an end, he hired more people. When it came time to pay the workers…everyone was paid the same.
The workers that worked all day, thought this unfair.
From a spiritual perspective the story makes sense. Regardless of when we accept Jesus’ offer to an enteral life, we will receive the same reward as those who started the journey much earlier. Just like in Jesus’ story…
All received what they had been promised.
The workers in the story are looking at this from a selfish, what’s in it for me, point of view. How much more content they would be if they focused on the good rather than seeing the negative.
They had an opportunity to earn money. They could now feed their family. The additional workers shared the work and eased their load. Every one of the workers was able to feed their families. This opportunity to work made for a better community in which to live.
We can choose what we focus on.
In 1981 a car crashed through the wall of 4-year-old Nicole Allshouse’s bedroom while she slept, trapping her between the car and a closet. She spent her entire childhood in and out of hospitals. She will be the first to tell you that “Life is not fair”.
“I say all of this to remind you, life is not fair. It is hard. And sometimes, it downright stinks. The challenges we all face are massive. I remember spending holidays in a hospital bed and pulling out chunks of my hair because I had no idea at that age how to cope with the intense pain. I remember throwing up after every operation from the morphine and struggling to come out of the foggy daze associated with it. I remember my elbows bleeding and scabbing over because I was forced to crawl on them when my legs would not move. I remember the first time I was old enough to realize the scope of my scars and how deformed my left knee appeared.”
However, Nicole choose to see the positive.
“What I do have, is experience in surviving. And I am here to tell you, life is not fair. No one ever said it would be. You have got to stop feeling sorry for yourself. Let me say that again, you MUST stop feeling sorry for yourself. You are wasting too much energy. And too much time. Feeling sorry for yourself will not get that job back or fix your broken marriage. Feeling sorry for yourself will not cure your illness or take off that weight. Feeling sorry for yourself will not make haters go away and will not create disposable income. Feeling sorry for yourself will not make the pain any better. You have to fight through the pain. And the key to fighting through the pain, is to have a laser like focus on the good things in your life.”
We need to be thankful for our blessings.
The alternative is to feel sorry for ourselves. Too often, people try to build themselves up by tearing others down. The Russian parable called Boris’s goat is a good example of this.
Two men, Boris and Ivan live almost identical lives. Both married. Both work. Both have two kids. The only difference is Boris has a goat and Ivan does not. One day Ivan is walking down the road when he comes across a lamp. He rubs the lamp and a genie pops out. The genie says, “I will grant you one wish. What is it you desire?” Ivan thinks for a moment and says, “I want Boris’s goat to die.”
Ivan choose to look at things negatively rather than positively. We can choose how we will see the world. The view we choose will affect that world.
Choose to see the world through God’s eyes.