The most recent Powerball winner took home over 480 million in cash. When I saw the announcement I thought to myself, “She doesn’t deserve that! She’s just taking other peoples’ money. Plus, it’s a sin to gamble.” However, my condemnation of the lady wasn’t solely based on righteous anger that she stole from others. I was also filled with envy and jealousy. There was a part of me that wanted to be the winner. It’s true that she didn’t deserve the money. She didn’t earn it or work for the money at all. She took it from others. But my condemnation was filled to the brim with impure reasons, even if she didn’t deserve the money.
Two of the easiest ways of upsetting anyone is to give credit to someone who doesn’t deserve it and to take away credit from the one to whom it’s due. There’s not much worse than working hard at your job day in and day out and then having your boss give credit to the slacker who works next to you. You work harder than he does and your performance is better in every single way, but your boss rewards him! How unfair! At times like these it’s easy to throw in the towel and walk away saying, “If I’m not going to be rewarded or at least recognized for my work, then why work at all?”
In Jesus’ parable about the workers in the vineyard, the first workers expressed a similar sentiment saying, “‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.'” (Matt. 20:12) They’d worked more than the men who had started last and so they thought they’d earned more reward than what they’d agreed to work for. They hadn’t in this case, but they still felt slighted.
Even worse than being unappreciated at work is being unappreciated at home. Working hard at providing or at homemaking without being appreciated can wear on a person. But at home, the reason to continue on is much better than possible reasons at work. At work you might have to continue on because you need the paycheck or if you’re blessed because you like the work. However at home, we continue on because we love the other people there. They’re family. We get to keep supporting, encouraging, and helping out even when we’re not appreciated for what we’ve done.
At home we reflect the reasons that God continues to love and take care of the world. God has earned credit beyond what we can show toward Him, and as Psalm 150 says, we’re to “Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!” What’s worse, is that besides just not showing enough honor and glory to God, many people, sometimes including us, don’t give God the glory that He has earned at all. Yet even with all of this disrespect that we and the rest of the world show, God continues to provide light, heat, food, shelter and many other blessings because of His great love for us.
In our sermon text this Sunday (Romans 11:33-36) we’re reminded of how God planned the salvation of the world in ways beyond our understanding, and how we owe all glory, honor and praise to Him.
Just a reminder that the fall schedule begins this weekend. Service times are 8:00 and 10:45 AM, with Sunday school at 9:30 AM, and Bible class at 9:45 AM. (The adult Bible class will pick up its ongoing study of Isaiah, which provides important insights and encouragement for believers in a world filled with violence, disasters, and general uncertainty). The public school confirmation class will also meet tomorrow from 12:15 to 2:15 PM.
The Messiah Lutheran School children will be singing during the first service, and we will also have the installation of our Sunday School teachers during first service.
Finally, as Irma bears down on Florida, please keep our fellow CLC members and everyone down there in your prayers.