Psalm 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
I am free, completely free, to choose the gain Jesus offers when he says, “Come work in my vineyard and I will provide wealth beyond your imagination.” No previous experience required. No background checks will be conducted. I do not have to have done anything in order to earn what Jesus promises, I only need to say “yes” to it when it is offered to me. Which is an incredible offer, really.
But now that I’m in, how often do I look around God’s vineyard and wonder how that guy got there? How often do I work in the vineyard expecting to be given more than the dude who came late and, in my personal assessment, doesn’t work as hard? How often does my ego say, “hey, I’ve been at this Christian thing much longer than the other guy and I’m a Catholic to boot–we got here first! Don’t I deserve better?”
Nope. There is nothing better.
There are no corporate ladders or social hierarchies in heaven. The economics of salvation that Jesus portrays in his parable do not work like the economics of this world. The amazing head-turn is that I do not work for salvation. Instead, I accept salvation and then I work because I am saved. Brilliant, really. Hook ‘em first, right? Except the job truly is it’s own reward as well. There’s a cliche about working that says, “find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This does not mean that there is not toil or difficulty or even hard work–very hard work—in the job. But when I love first, when I truly accept the invitation and am all in on this Christian thing, I accept the toil and very hard work because of the love I have for Christ.
Admittedly, I spend countless hours looking for the return of that love, and the fulfillment of God’s promises wondering, “where is the reward for all this hard work?” But, as the psalmist proclaims, God’s “greatness is unsearchable.” Instead of attempting to search for rewards of love, Love finds me and invites me to participate in His work. God chose me. And as if that alone is not incredible enough, He gives me everlasting life.
My Lord Jesus, you have chosen me and I accept your invitation to work in your vineyard. Be my strength as I fight my own selfishness, pride, and ego. May the love of our Father be the only reward I seek. I ask this in your name. Amen