Storyteller-Series-Week2

Matthew, chapter 18, verse 1; “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?’” Matthew, chapter 19, verse 27; “Then Peter said in reply, ‘See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?’”

Comparison is such a hard thing to deal with, but I think we all have faced it at some point in our lives. We try to compete with our neighbors to see who can have the best lawn, the most fruitful garden, the best car (or truck!), or maybe the best kids.

It used to be called, “keeping up with the Jones’.” Advertisers have a keen way of influencing us to purchase their products. It’s kind of like the reasoning I always gave my parents when I wanted something; “Everyone at school has one, why can’t I have it.” Or; “Everyone else is doing it!” My mom’s response was always the same as many of yours; “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it?” I guess it would depend on the bridge…

Today, the stakes have been raised. It’s not just those that live next to us, or even those that live down the street or in our community that we have to try and keep up with. With the invention of social media, we now have people all over the world that we are attempting to be like.

Do you ever scroll through the endless pile of notifications and pictures, posts and selfies, and wonder to yourself, how can anyone be that perfect? A post lists off all the things this person has accomplished that day and it seems like it should be a week’s worth of stuff. This person is now off on their 10 vacation of the year, and its only July. This one just bought a new car, this one’s moving into a new house, this one is getting married and has just had the most amazing proposal, and it was caught on video which is being shared.

We look at the endless amount of posts and pictures of perfect lives. There’s but one problem. None of those lives are perfect. Social media is like the photoshop of real life. We take the best parts of our lives, polish them up, and post them for the world to see. The everyday stuff, the boring, monotonous tasks, and all the other things we don’t want people to see; that never shows up on Facebook. Only the best, only the things we want out there make it.

How do the rest of us compete with that? How do we compare? Sure, we have moments that our lives look like that, but they are few and far between. We can’t keep up with what we see. Comparison or competition within the Kingdom of God is not a good thing.

The disciples were trying to figure out who was the best, who was the greatest, who was going to sit at Jesus’ right and left hand side. They were also worried about all the time, money, and effort they have given toward this Kingdom, where was that going to leave them? Were they going to be rewarded for all their labor?

Then Jesus tells this well-known parable, workers in the vineyard. In this story, we find a landowner, a vineyard owner, who needs to have his grapes harvested. He goes to town and hires a group of workers and agrees to pay them a day’s worth of wages. But the work was too much for this first group, so the owner goes back and hires more workers, throughout the day. Finally, at the end of the day, the owner pays all the workers, beginning with those who only worked one hour. To the first worker’s surprise, they received a day’s wage! That must mean that they were going to receive more, after all, they worker far longer than the others did. But the owner pays them just what they agreed upon, a day’s wage.

They were upset. How could the owner pay everyone the same amount? They certainly didn’t work the same number of hours. But in God’s Kingdom, all are equal. God is generous with his gifts. He wants to offer the same gift of salvation to everyone, regardless of when they make the decision to follow Christ. God wants us to be grateful for the gift he has given to us. We should not be comparing ourselves to anyone else. In this world, it is incredibly difficult, but in God’s Kingdom, there is no need for comparisons!

Advertisements