Are You Limiting Your Blessings?
“How many hours will I be required to work?” “How much will I receive in exchange?” “Will I be entitled to sick-leave?” You hear such questions often as people consider going to work for someone else. They want to know in advance what’s in it for them, and will insist on a written, legal contract, enforceable in the courts that guarantee they will receive specific benefits, or rewards, in return for their time. It’s an employer-employee relationship, and that’s the way the world works.
Unfortunately, many Christians approach their relationship with the Lord the same way, not knowing how much this limits their blessings. They see Him as a Master, an employer, for whom they work in exchange for certain rewards, or benefits, which are directly tied to their level of performance. If they work long and hard, they feel entitled to more benefits. If they work less, or perform below par, they expect to be penalized. But is this the way God’s kingdom runs? Do we receive from him based on our performance, or lack thereof?
Listen to the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard… And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’”(Matt. 20:1-8)
In this parable, Jesus essentially divides the laborers in the vineyard into two groups–those who had a legal contract with the landowner and those who were willing to work without a contract. The first group wanted to make sure they got paid what they felt they earned. The last group left it to the landowner to decide, choosing to trust his goodness instead. Seeing there was only one hour left in the day, they were just grateful for the opportunity he had given them to work at all in his vineyard. They knew he did not really need them. It was they who needed him. He was being gracious
At the end of the day, when it was time for the workers to receive what they had earned, he gave the contractual employees, who had worked for twelve long hours, one denairus–only what they had earned. But, surprisingly, to those who worked only one hour, but who were willing to trust him and work freely without any legal contract, he also gave the same one danairus. This means, they received twelve times as much as the first group. Twelve times! Far more than they deserved.
Child of God, Jesus does not desire an employer-employee relationship with you. He does not want to have a legal contract with you, which requires you to perform at a certain level, before you can receive a certain blessing from Him. He wants to be left alone to bless you as He sees fit, according to His goodness and not according to yours.
What’s the lesson? Don’t serve Jesus as though you are an employee working for your wages. A legalistic mindset will severely limit God’s blessings in your life. Trying to earn your blessings will diminish what God can do for you. You are far better off being grace-minded than you will ever be being law-minded. When it comes to your relationship with Jesus, the Law is not your friend!
Remove the limits off of God by tearing up the contract. Like the last group in the parable, just serve freely, with no strings attached, and leave it to Him to bless you. Believe He is good and will bless you by grace, and you will surely discover, in the end, His favor and blessings will be far, far more than you could ever merit or deserve.