Devotional Thoughts Based on the Glory to God Hymnal
Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?
The text is set within a story about a landowner with an overabundance of grapes to be harvested. As was his custom, he went out early in the morning to hire laborers to harvest. They agreed upon the daily wage and the owner sent them to the vineyard. He then went out at nine o’clock, noon, three o’clock and yes, even five o’clock agreeing to pay them what was right. Finally, the work whistle blew, and all the workers knew it was quitting time and time to be paid. The owner informed the foreman to pay the last workers hired first and that those hired earliest in the day to be paid last. When the earliest workers hired discovered that the last workers hired got the same wage, they became very upset even though they had agreed upon the daily wage. The owner was at liberty to treat his workers as he saw fit. He treated them all fairly, paying them what he promised, but the workers resented his generosity and believed they were mistreated.
Matthew 20:1-16 is alluded to in the second stanza of the hymn.
In the just reward of labor, God’s will be done. In the help we give our neighbor, God’s will be done. In our worldwide task of caring, for the hungry and despairing, in the harvests we are sharing, God’s will be done.
We, like the earliest hired workers, do not have a leg to stand on to cry “Foul” or “Unfair” to God’s treatment of us! God is very gracious and generous in His dealings with us, even if we are the first ones hired and the last ones paid.
Dear God, everyone does not “play fair” in this world. If we cried out for fairness from You, we would be sorely treated. Fortunately for us, You are most gracious and generous. Keep us mindful all that we are and all that we have are on loan to us from You. Stir within us gratitude and praise for all You have done. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.