The mantra of the church is we are of grace not the law, yet many people live under the law and do not even realize it. The law is a works covenant, meaning how much I work is how much I should be rewarded. We are a people who love to be rewarded or waged according to our work, but that is a law mentality. One of the best ways to see what mentality you are really of, the law or grace, can be seen in how you respond to Jesus parable in Matthew 20. Now, I realize none of us think we would respond the way the “workers” in the parable responded, but if we were honest I think we would respond the same way. Because we have a “work ethic” which we highly value and is striking similar to Israel’s highly valued law ethic.
Listen to Jesus in Matthew 20 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.’ When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius.” The first ones hired were promised a denarius for a day’s work, no other worker was promised anything. When it came time for rewards/wages for work all got paid the same in the kingdom of this generous king. The first hired were furious not because they didn’t get what they were promised but because others who didn’t work as long got the same pay. They cried unjust and Jesus called it generous.
Church as I read this I sensed a yellow warning light flashing in the spirit. We must be aware of calling something unjust that God calls generous. People are going to receive things similar to us, who have been working longer than them, but we must trust the heart of our King, for even when others get what we do not think they deserve, we actually don’t get what we deserve either. It will be a time of rejoicing when our King starts rewarding us all on earth for things we didn’t earn or deserve.