Topic: Gentleness Scripture: Galatians 6:10
(A contemporary version of Matthew 20:1-15 .)
“The story is told of a business owner who needed some help in his factory. He went to the temporary employment office, filled out the appropriate paper work and at 6:00AM the next morning a few people showed up to help in his factory. They were to be paid minimum wage for the days work. At 8:30AM the business owner realized he needed more help, called the temp office and at 9:00AM more help arrived. At 11:30 the business owner again, realized that more workers were needed to work in his factory so he made the call and at noon more workers arrived and hit the factory floor. The work that needed to be done was getting accomplished. But in order for the business owner to make quota he realized he needed still more help. At 2:30 he called for more help and at 3:00PM help arrived. Just to make sure all was taken care of for the days business he called again at 4:30 and once more help came again at 5:00PM for that last hour of business. Production in the factory began at 6:00AM and ended at 6:00PM.
Twelve hard hours of hard work the first team put in. Twelve, long hours on the hot and steamy factory floor. Those who came at 5PM surely did not know the pains of the twelve-hour shift.
When the day was over the workers lined up to be paid for their labor. Those hired at 5PM were paid first at what seemed to be what a full days wages. Curious. As the workers shuffled through the payroll line each received the same amount. Those hired first, who hit the floor at 6:00AM, realized what was happening, gathered together and started to grumble at the business owner. They thought surely this is a mistake? We put in 12 hard and steamy hours on your factory floor and the guy who came at the last minute, who worked only ONE HOUR, you paid him the same?! This is SO UNFAIR. You have made those hired last equal to us who have borne the burden of the full days labor!
In kindness and gentleness the business owner said to one of them, “Friend, I’m not being unfair to you. You agreed to work for the wages I set. Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who came last the same wages as you. Don’t I have to right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?”
When we considerthe fruit of the Spiritand the characteristic of goodness, the wordgoodnessactually means generosity. It may seem unfair for the business owner to pay the same wages to the one who works a full day as the one who works only one hour but Jesus is illustrating in Matthew 20 the goodness or generosity of God.
As we grow in Christ likeness, becoming more like God, more like Christ, His Spirit in us should be growing in generosity. We love and serve and give of our time and resources in such a way that it mirrors God's generosity towards us.
As we considered last week, God showed usHis incomparableriches of his grace, expressed in kindness to us in Christ Jesus. We broken and rebellious sinners are not indifferent to God but actively against him. But, He expressed such immense kindnessand generosity towards His enemiesby sacrificing His own Son in order to reconcile us to Him. It is through Gods grace, His kindness, His mercy, His generosity, His goodness that we are saved.
What is good may not always be what is fair. It was notfairthat Jesus, the perfect Son of God, died in my place and for the sins of humanity. It was not fair butit was good.It was generous.
How do you express Gods goodness or generosity in your relationships?
Like Jesus do you go around doinggood,expressing grace and generosity? (Acts 10:38 )
As Paul says, “As we have opportunity do we do good to all people?” Are you generous to all people?
This week will you be observant for opportunities to be generous with you time, your attitudes and your resources God has entrusted to you?
The fingerprints of God are evidence of His life in us, shown in a Spirit of kindness and goodness. Will you put Him on display this week?