Sunday, July 21, 2013

Generosity

My mother is one of the most generous woman I have ever met. To be honest, sometimes it frustrates me how generous and giving she is. She is always bringing my friends food and presents. She is always spending money on other people. She is always thinking about others and what they would like instead of her and sometimes even instead of us.

The gift of generosity is beautiful because if you are generous you are not only blessed by God Himself, but you will be loved by many people, and experience true joy. Generosity is the secret to true happiness as well as wealth.

Christ demonstrates true generosity in His parable about the vineyard in Matthew 20:1-16.
The landowner started hiring workers at about 6am in the morning to work harvest. The landowner returned back at his field later at 9 am, 3 pm, and again at 5 pm to hire more workers to finish the job. Finally at the end of the day, about 6pm, the landowner returned to pay his workers. He gave all the workers one denarius starting with the workers that came in last.

The workers did not understand. The workers hired last who only worked an hour or three hours were jumping up and down with happiness and thanksgiving. The workers hired first were complaining. They said "These men who were hired last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of work and the heat of the day."

The landowner replied:  "I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

The last will be first and the first will be last- what does this mean? This story turns everything we often think about and know upside down.

The vineyard in this parable represents the world and the workers are us. No matter what time we choose to follow Jesus in His work and enter His kingdom, we are equal. If we choose God while we are in a hospital bed before we die, we are equal to the pastor who was born a Christian and has been serving God his entire life.

The most important lesson about the vineyard is that God is a generous God and He wants us to be generous also. Because God is God He can do whatever He wants. He can bless people as much as He chooses and be as generous as He would like.

Here are some of my ideas other than the idea that God is generous why I was thinking God says let the first be last and the last first:

* so the first people don't get cocky
* to show that God's ways are not like our own
* to teach us not to be selfish or greedy
* to eliminate the fighting to be first
* to teach us to love others more than ourself
* to show that His kingdom is not about our pleasure but about God Himself

True generosity comes from realizing that we are all poor until Christ blesses us and He blesses us so that we can share His love with others. "The knowledge of our own poverty brings us to the moral frontier where Jesus Christ works."

So may we be generous because Christ is generous. May we love until we think we would run out, only to realize that we have experienced the never-ending agape love of Jesus. May we give until we rely on Christ alone for everything. May we help others so much that people ask us "What is different about you?"


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