I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Deep Thought Thursday: It's What You Do, Not When You Do It

“Some time ago the United Technologies Corporation published in the Wall Street Journal a full-page message entitled, "It's What You Do, Not When You Do It."”

Yes, the quotes mean I read this somewhere else. Can’t have you thinking I sit around reading the Wall Street Journal, now can I? Sheesh.

I actually read this in a Bible Illustration (for sermons, lessons what have you) List on my computer. Their perspective on this particular quote was emphasizing age. When I read it, though, I had a totally different take on it. (As usual.)

When I read this, it reminded me of the parable in Matthew 20:1-16. Jesus was speaking with the disciples. He had, in the previous chapter, made the statement that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to go to Heaven.

Then Peter (of course) reminded Him that they had forsaken all to follow Him, and asked ‘Um, Lord, what are we gonna get out of the deal?’

(You know that is TOTALLY paraphrased, right?)

Jesus told them that when He comes back in His kingdom, they will judge the twelve tribes of Israel on twelve thrones. He also then made the statement that the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

This all happened in chapter 19.

Now that we have set the context in which the parable was given, let’s actually get to the parable I’m referencing. In case you forgot the reference because I told it to you TWENTY MINUTES AGO, it is found in Matthew 20:1-16. I expect you to get your Bible or
e-Sword software now and read this passage.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

(Smiles pleasantly then expertly gives ‘The Look’. Wendy knows what I mean by that.)

Done? Ok. Thankyouverymuch.

This parable is all about the man who owns a vineyard and hires workers at many different hours of the day. He made a deal with the workers in the morning that they would earn one penny for their labor. For the day.

So then the man who owns the vineyard sees men in the marketplace standing around idle, and hires them. He does the same thing at 9AM, Noon, 3PM, and 5PM. (Why are all these men not working is what I want to know!!) He makes the same agreement with them all. ‘Whatever is right I will give you.’

When the end of the day comes, and it’s time to pay the workers, he gathers them all around him. He starts with those who were hired last of all, and gives them a penny for their work.

The men who were hired in the early morning are probably at this point elbowing each other and smiling while they nod their proud little heads, assuming they will be given more money. But as they watch, and notice everyone is getting a penny, no matter when they were hired, they begin to murmur.

Then they complain right out loud saying “These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.”

(Insert pouty faces here)

Whoa. Talk about being unthankful!! These men who had no job at all now had money to bring home for their families. In the beginning they were happy to work for a penny a day. But when they see those who worked one hour receive the same pay as them, and they worked in the hot sun for crying out loud, they become unthankful and bitter.
Didn’t they deserve more?

The man who owns the vineyard reminds them of their agreement for a penny. Then he makes the statement ‘Is thine eye evil, because I am good?’

He was fair to keep their agreement. He promised if they worked for him they would receive a penny. And I am sure he also provided drinks to cool their parched mouths, and also some sort of lunch.

So really they got more than a penny’s worth of pay.

What exactly is my point?

‘It’s What You Do, Not When You Do It’.

The other men who worked less hours came when the vineyard owner offered the job. They worked hard, and earned their pay the same as then men who worked all day.

How does this apply to us?

Sometimes I think we, as believers, look at people who have wasted years and years living in sin and corruption, or people who have hurt us badly in the past, or people who are lying on their death bed come to know Christ, and somehow feel cheated because they receive the same forgiveness and eternal life we receive. Because we have been saved and working for the Lord for just forever, we think we ought to get a little more than that.

Our eye becomes evil because Christ is good and fair to all.

Even though we not only received eternal life, but daily provision, answers to prayers, and strong testimonies to share of God’s goodness.

‘It’s What You Do, Not When You Do It.’

Repenting of your sin and putting your faith in Christ, no matter if you’re seven years old, or if you’ve waded through decades of sin, or if you’re on your death bed, will always result in the blessing of receiving eternal life.

But to me there is more to this quote than even all that.

"It's What You Do, Not When You Do It" applies in another sense as well.
If there’s something God has told you to do, you better do it.

Whether it’s ask someone’s forgiveness for something you’ve done, or witness to a family member that intimidates you, or get your relationship with God right again, you will be met with the goodness and fairness of God. He will bless your obedience. It doesn’t matter if you’ve waited 40 years already. You won’t get all the blessing you would have gotten, had you obeyed immediately, but it will still count.

The only catch is that you have to actually do it.

"It's What You Do, Not When You Do It."

We are each given the same amount of time to be obedient.

One life.

Make it count.

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