I was reading and explaining the parable of the early and late workers from Matthew 20 to my children the other day.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.2 Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.3 And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,4 and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went.5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing[a]idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’7 They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard,[b]and whatever is right you will receive.’
8 “So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’9 And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius.10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius.11 And when they had received it, they[c]complained against the landowner,12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’13 But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For[d]many are called, but few chosen.”
At the time, I didn’t really make any application to my own thoughts of late, but I felt a little niggling something in my chest, like something…something…oh, well, I’m in a hurry. Let’s move on to math.
So then this morning I was doing what all red-blooded Americans and Canadians are doing right now, whispering my prayers for some peaceful protestors, and cheering for some people standing up to tyranny. I’ve also put my money where my mouth is in supporting Pastor Artur Pawlowski<<<–CLICK THAT LINK and I hope you will, also.
Sweet, ain’t it?
Now, I’ve always had an annoying tendency to see things on multiple levels, and sometimes those levels would seem to contradict each other. Sometimes I lose sleep trying to reconcile my different impressions with each other. They rarely truly contradict, but the more compelling thoughts can pull me too far in one direction or the other at times. On one level, I’ve already said exactly what I think of the Truckers and their protest. It is both marvelous to behold, and yet a sign of inadequate understanding.
But it looks to me like it is becoming more adequate all the time.
Where I first only saw some people getting mad because they were finally about to be out of a job, unlike that other poor schmuck who has been out of a job for a year now, I’m now perceiving people who are actually sorry they didn’t stand up earlier. People who took an ill-advised vaccine out of naïve obedience to illegitimate demands by “authority” are now unwilling to force others to violate their bodies in the same way. That speaks of repentance, whether they know how to use the word yet or not.
I’m loving the patriotism, and the peacefulness, and the truly Christlike resistance that they are offering. God bless Canada!
So where do I need to rebuke myself? There’s not much wrong with what I said before, right?
No, not really. But that niggling something I felt when I was explaining the parable to my children was the Holy Spirit reminding me that there’s a wrong way to be right.
That’s what happens when you let your precious Self start to take credit for simply showing up a few hours earlier than the next guy down the hiring-line. It’s good that I showed up for work in the morning, refusing early on to mask or to bow to the power that sought to enslave not just me, but my neighbor, whom I actively loved by standing up for his rights, even when he was too scared to do so for himself. It’s good, but it’s not my good. It is Christ’s. Always.
I said before:
There are families who have had to find alternative ways to feed their children after grocery stores wouldn’t let them in. People have lost their jobs. Doctors, pharmacists, and nurses have been silenced for having a different opinion than the approved one. Many have been threatened and intimidated for refusing to back down. Some of the most compelling voices have likely been assassinated, given the mysterious circumstances under which they’ve died. While it is much worse in Canada, we have plenty of stories in the US, too.
Pardon me if I’m not terribly impressed that the mob has finally gotten mad, now that enough lives are affected.
I only got hired this morning, myself.
Being a natural introvert and observer, it is true that I have sussed things out a little earlier than most. But the Spirit graciously humbled me through the words of Our Lord. “What is it to you if I grant repentance to them today, rather than yesterday? What is an hour or day to the Eternal, anyway? Didn’t you already receive what I promised you?”
We’re all at a different place in our understanding and experience. So the trouble, as usual, isn’t with my discernment, but with my heart, my pride. As if every gift I have weren’t from God, and not of myself, lest I should boast? So, while I retract nothing of the realities of what I said, I repent of my skepticism that God has brought in His perfect time any individual or nation to repentance. Repentance is increasingly what this convoy looks like to me: a great national–no, international–repentance, after realizing we’ve allowed mere Power to subvert righteous Authority.
So, allow me to say publicly what my pride would prefer I admit only privately. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I was right, the wrong way, which is no better than being completely wrong.