Do you consider yourself a hard worker? I do. The work I do is not physically demanding, but I am diligent and dependable. I like it when I’m trusted with a leadership role or an important project. It feels good to be seen as capable and competent.
As I’m learning, learning, learning to live loved I see how my desire to be seen as a capable and competent person has actually stunted my spiritual growth.
A major obstacle in my ability to fully receive God’s unmerited grace is the fact that it is unmerited.
I mean, honestly, as a capable and self-sufficient person, I’d like to know how to earn God’s love because then I would go out and earn it.
Instead, God has a different system. God gives love freely and willingly.
Do you know the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard? In Matthew 20, Jesus tells a story about a landowner (think: farmer) who hires a series of workers for his vineyard. He hires them throughout the day, at different times. Some people work all day, some work for only an hour. At the end of the day, the landowner pays everyone the same amount. He pays the one-hour workers first and when the all-day workers are paid the same amount, they “begin to grumble.”
I bet they did! I definitely would have grumbled.
The landowner says, “I’m not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for this amount? 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 jealous because I am generous?”
Um, to be honest, yes God, I’m kind of jealous you’re so generous. I want you to like me MORE. I want you to see that I’ve worked HARDER.
I like to earn praise and accolades, but that isn’t how it works with God.
Grace and kindness are “God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing!” Ephesians 2:7-10 (MSG)
If I could earn God’s love, I would see it as proof of my own competence and capability, instead of a gift from God.
Instead of focusing on what I can do, I need to focus more on what God has already done.
God’s grace is definitely sufficient for me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
The challenge for me? Making sure my efforts to earn it don’t keep me from accepting it.
More like this from Beth:
- Honest (About Yourself) Is the Best Policy
- Love One Another Wasn’t A New Commandment
- Why I Stopped Asking If I Measure Up
A similar post first appeared here on April 22, 2015.