“But as his part is who goes down to the battle, as shall his part be who stays by the supplies, they shall share alike.”  1 Samuuel 30:24

“Friend I am doing you no wrong.  Did you not agree with me for a denarius?  Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?”  Matthew 20 13, 15

“I was saved when I was but ________ years old.  I volunteer on _______________ committees.  I have been on ____________ mission trips.  So and so only shows up to church on Sundays.  So and so doesn’t tithe.”  Have you ever heard these types of statements among believers in your faith community.  Please don’t misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong about having a long relationship with Christ, serving on committees or doing mission trips.  Also, tithing can be commendable as well as being at church more than just on Sunday.  But let’s delve more into scripture.

David is on the march.  While he and his men were away from their home city, a group came and ransacked it kidnapping all their families and stealing their possessions.  After first getting the approval from God, David and six hundred set out to retrieve their families and possessions as well as teach the invaders a lesson.  David’s army  finds the intruders and attacks.  The army is victorious but some of the enemy has fled and needs to be pursued.  However, 200 men are so weary from battle they can not continue.  Plus David can not carry all of spoils of his first victory with them so somebody has to stay back to gaurd them.  400 men continue on, finding the intruders, completely annihilating them plus taking a considerable amount of treasure back with them.  The 400 men who went with David now come back to the 200 men who were too weary to go with the army.  A few men (the bible describes them as wicked and worthless) tell David that the 200 men who did not follow David into the second battle deserve no share in the great spoils of the second victory.  That may seem reasonable to us.  We may see these folks as slackers or lazy.  David does not.  He replies that they provided a necessary function, albeit a different one and thus deserve the same reward, the same respect.

Jesus’ parable has a similar message.  Workers are hired to do a job and they agree upon payment.  Some work the entire day and some less, some significantly less.  It was not as if the ones who came later in the day, again were slackers or lazy.  It was they had not had the opportunity to be selected to go to the field.  The workers who had worked the entire day are paid their agreed upon wage.  When they see that the ones who had worked less than the entire day get the same, they feel cheated.  While they get exactly what was promised them, what they started the day believing was fair,  comparing themselves to others causes that which they agreed upon to be no longer sufficient.  The all day workers believe they are better, more deserving than the one hour workers.  The Master is not fair.

Comparison and judgement are very dangerous practices that can lead each of us to an evil place.  I do more so I deserve more.  I am smarter than you so I should be compensated more.  The amount I give is substantially more than you so I should receive much higher praise.  That is the way of the world.  For so often in the way of the world, I work harder and longer just so I can earn more money.  I get a higher education, not for education’s sake but so that I am more marketable.  I spend more hours with the expectation of higher reward.  It is natural in the world to do those things, not with the intent of service, but with the intent of return on investment.

Our Heavenly Father teaches us, both through His Son Jesus Christ, as well as throughout His word in the bible, that the way of faith is vastly different.  That difference is derived by and through intent.  There is a need.  That need may have to do with  time for a committee, playing of music, giving of money, listening and being with a fellow believer, traveling to do work and countless other needs.  God has given us all talents.  Yet those talents are very diverse and not always obvious to our eyes.  God has also given us His true Love.  It is from and through His Love that we are drawn to meet those needs.  Our intent is service and the more pure that intention is, the less we feel any sense for the need of reward and/or praise.  I do as I am called, knowing full way that my brother and sister receive different callings and it is wrong for me to judge them based upon what my calling is and what talents I have been given to use.

Dear brothers and sisters there is another great truth.  And that truth is that God is not stingy or miserly with His blessings.  He gives.  He gives constantly and generously.  He also gives based on what He perfectly knows is what is the best for us.  That someone else seems to be receiving more, in a worldly sense, is just that; the worldly sense.  There is no need to compare because God Almighty gives abundantly to meet everything we need.  Let us strive to cast off the world and its precepts of fair and live a life of gratitude in service.  A life acknowledging the greatest gift we all have; the gift of Jesus Christ as our savior.  Praising God for all He provides, to all of His creation.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, You are Gracious and quick to supply all that we need with great abundance.  Forgive us Most Merciful Father when we look at the blessings of others and covet them with a belief that they should be ours as well.  Pour out Your Spirit of Discernment that we would come to understand the particular talents which you have provided as well as the perfect individual blessings You shower down upon us.  That our lives would be a testament service and praise to Your Most Holy Name.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen