How do you react to the blessings of God in another person’s life? Do you get upset, hurt, envious, angry at God? Or do you react with joy and praise to our Lord Jesus? He asked: “Is it not lawful for Me to do what I wish with My own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?” These queries were brought about by some laborers who were upset because the ‘new kid in the Kingdom’ got the same pay that they did. They didn’t think it was fair that God looked upon all of His workers equally, especially since they had borne “the burden and heat of the day.” They obviously thought they deserved more than those ‘eleventh-hour’ servants. Our Lord’s words give us some helpful insight, as well as some timely counsel.
The first thing that we must fix in our minds is that in God’s eyes, all of His “sheep” are equal. There are different degrees of calling, different ministries and types of ministering, different talents and abilities, but no rank whatsoever. God is no respecter of persons, but “He is Lord of all”, and dispenses His gifts and blessings as He chooses.
This prerogative He has as God, is the second thought we must fix in our minds. He, and He alone, grants favor, benefits, and rewards to His people. If you are feeling ‘short-changed’ by God, let me remind you that He does re-serve rewards for heaven. (See Isaiah 62:11, Matt 5:12, 16:27, 1 Cor 3:8, Col 3:24, Rev 22:12.) In fact, the apostle John exhorts us to keep laboring in order to receive “a full reward.”
Being human, though, we often look at things from a purely earthly perspective. We might associate good times, health, and riches with divine blessings, and think of ill health and poverty as evidences of disapproval. The example Jesus gave in Luke 16:19-25 refutes this way of thinking. However, this raises another issue. It is disturbing and vexing to us to observe the wicked in their prosperity while fellow Christians struggle to provide food for their families. We may wonder why the unsaved enjoy good health while some sold-out saints suffer with physical maladies. Again, we must remember that God has the right to do what He chooses. Also, keeping a heavenly perspective will enable us to see beyond the temporary afflictions, and view the inequities of life in the light of eternal values.
You may be wondering, though, why some Christians are showered with blessings while other saints appear to be overlooked. Once again, we must trust in God’s sovereignty and goodness. Hebrews 11:6 assures us that, “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” However, those rewards are not always given to us while here on earth. Perhaps therein lies much of the problem.
Is it possible that we’ve looked to circumstances as signs of God’s approval? For example thinking, ‘Today I feel great; therefore Jesus loves me’ as opposed to: ‘I’m ill, but brother Ray is healthy, so it must be that Jesus loves him more than me.’ How foolish! Perish the thought that God would love one saint more than another when Jesus Himself has told us that the Father loves us as much as He loves Jesus!
Our Lord’s blessings have nothing to do with receiving more or less of His love. We are all His friends, as well as His family. God’s blessings upon us are all tokens of His goodness, love, mercy, and grace; and, although we are all equal, He deals with us as individuals according to His knowledge of what is best for each one. Remember, in His parable Jesus assured those who had labored all day that He did them no wrong by paying them what He did.
For you see, we are not on a works or merit system here on earth. We don’t earn God’s blessings; nor can we just push some button and have them fall upon us. God doesn’t owe us His blessings! Now the Scriptures do teach principles of sowing and reaping,17 but because of His great love for us, God often blesses us beyond what we might expect our meager sowing to produce.
The Lord’s questions to the laborers at the beginning of this study are a prompt to us to examine our motives and perspective lest we, like the church at Ephesus, do the right things but with the wrong motives.18 We must beware of assessing our earthly ‘returns’ for serving God, and avoid comparing them with what others are receiving, for this can lead to an attitude of complaining that accuses God of being unfair. We can certainly enjoy our relationship with God in spite of our circumstances, but if I find that joy fading away when I see ‘with an evil eye’ God’s goodness toward another saint, then I must remember that all I really deserve is death! Oh, how thankful I am that God has never dealt with me according to what I deserve!
It is God’s goodness that leads me to repentance. His goodness is the fountain of every good thing. His goodness controls His blessings on earth. So learn to enjoy and be content with what you have, saints, knowing that the Lord will not overlook your labors of love.