Do You See Them as Gifts?

My daughter recently tried to figure out how many birthday presents she would receive. Not just for her next birthday, but for ALL of her birthdays! It’s funny how quickly a gift turns into an expectation or a plan. We start thinking about vacations, gifts, tax refunds, and bonuses at work. And if something causes one of them not to show up, we’re disappointed. Most of these were an “extra” item or a gift in the first place!

Jesus tells a parable about how our mentality toward heaven should be in Matthew 20.  The vineyard owner hires vineyard workers throughout the day and pays them all the same wage despite what time they started working. Naturally, this frustrated the ones who worked all day. They worked longer, so they, of course, thought they should be paid more than the ones who worked less. But the vineyard worker responded to one of them:

“I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:13-15)

The vineyard owner extended the offer, and the workers accepted it. They received what they expected. But they were disappointed because their offer was somehow “worth” less.  The owner reminded them of their original agreement. He also reminded them that it wasn’t really their business! The vineyard owner could make whatever deal he wanted!

Jesus was highlighting the attitude we should have toward heaven and the gift of salvation. We are promised salvation if we accept it. Everyone else is too. It is the best gift one could receive. But we should not be concerned about the attitude of others when they come to know Christ. We should just be thankful the relationship exists.

When it comes to gifts or acts of kindness, what is your attitude? Do you see them as gifts? Do you see them as something to expect? And are you thankful that others are coming to know Jesus?

As you dispense hope to those around you this weekend, allow your attitude to reflect the marvelous love of Jesus.

By Jason Grace

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