In church today, the message was about not comparing ourselves to others, not to try and figure out why everyone else seems to have something you don't, and to take our issues like that to our Maker rather than grumble to other people (the scripture was Matthew 20). As I was listening to this, I couldn't help but think of the story of the ten talents, and just started turning it over in my mind. I mentally went through the story, as simple as it is, and when I got to the point where the servant is telling his master why he didn't do anything with his talents, his answer struck me. You know, this master gives some guys different amounts of money to try and invest, and this one dude just buries it in the ground. When the master comes back later to see what the guys did with what they were given, he is surprised that the one simply buried it! "Why didn't you at least put it in the bank, so it could collect interest?" he asks. And his answer: " I knew you to be a hard man..."
Many times I've read this parable, and often I think things like, why didn't you put in the bank?! Why on earth did you bury it of all things? Come on man, what's wrong with you? Not very sympathetic, I know. But that's when it hit me: the source of the problem. The guy knew of his master, had knowledge of what he had done. The problem was, he didn't actually know his master, know his nature. He didn't know his master well enough to know that he was a generous man. 1 talent back in those days was equivalent to I want to say a year's wages, and usually masters didn't hand their servants that kind of money to dink around with.
But isn't that the truth, though? The more we experience and get to know God, the more we understand about His nature and that He in fact is very generous.
So on to Matthew 20, and how this ties in.
In this chapter, there is a landowner who goes and seeks people to go and work for him in his vineyard. Some men he hires right away, some later, and some not until the eleventh hour. At the end of the day, the landowner says to his steward to give the men their wages, starting with the last and ending with the first. Ok, so the steward gives the men who had only worked an hour a denarius (equal to a day's wages), and the ones who had been there since the morning see this. When the early workers get their turn in line, they are given a denarius also. Yeah, that causes a rift. Basically these guys say wait a minute, we've been here all day, and they get the same pay?! And the landowner says something to the effect of, "If I want to be generous, what's it to you?"
Whoa! Here is the point: when you think about it, who was treated unfairly? The early workers got their fair share of payment, and the later ones were payed generously. Sometimes I want to cmpare my situation to others, and gripe and complain about how come I don't have this, or how come they have that, and ultimately? It just doesn't matter, because my Landowner is generous!!!!!
But that's how the Kingdom of God is, it is intrinsically unfair.
We each get more than we deserve. :)