What does a day's wages have to do with it?
The kingdom of heaven, Jesus said, is like workers hired by a gracious God to work in a field. Some are hired in the morning, confident they will eat that night. Some are hired hours later or late in the day and they hope for something, anything to help their family endure the challendges they face. All are paid a day's wages to survive and prosper.
Is God unfair to give blessings to each, irregardless of efforts they expend during work hours? To the capable, God seems unfair. To those who aren't anyone's first pick, God seems gracious.
The kingdom of God isn't blessings according to our efforts, it is blessings according to God's goodness. There is nothing fair about it. Think about it. God needn't hire any workers to do his work. The God who created light from darkness and paradise from ruin doesn't need us. He doesn't owe us. We are not entitled.
If God choses us and uses us, it isn't because of our merit.
God's kindness sends him in search of those who need to be needed, who need to work to survive and thrive.
God is good and kind. He chooses the weary, the hungry, and the willing to belong to him, work with him and share with others -- in a word of encouragement, an opportunity to earn wages or in whatever gifts within our means that can bless the lives of others.
What does being first or last have to do with the price of a day's wages in the kingdom of God? It all depends on what God's opportunity to work means to a believer.
Who is first in God's kingdom? Those who know God's gifts are independent from our efforts, those workers who view the opportunity to serve God as a privilege and a way to show gratitude. These are our leaders in faith.
Who is least in God's kingdom? Hard working religious ones who somehow think that our efforts are the reasons for God's blessings in their lives. Can any work we do for however long ever result in more kindness from an already generous God? Grumblings of entitlement and envy reveal there is still much for us to learn about God's kingdom of love and grace.
How about you? How do you maintain gratitude and faith as you wait for your opportunity or labor through the challenges of these economic times?