Co-workers in the Vineyard

Posted by James Hahn on

Matthew 20:1-16

Entitlement mentality is what I think we could call it. It is this idea that if we have been doing good all along we should be entitled to more of a reward than the person who just recently began living a good and holy life. I believe it is a major consequence of original sin and very much tied to pride. No one is exempt from this pattern of behavior.

My wife and I have a difficult time persuading our four-year-old to eat supper every night. It is simply one meal he doesn't care to eat. We use every tactic we can think of from punishments to rewards. Our oldest child sees all of this and calculates his move with precision. If his younger sibling takes too long to eat his meal he feels as though he is entitled to more dessert since he obeyed right away. Like the parable in the Gospel the reward, dessert, is the same for all my sons and neither should be jealous of the other but rather rejoice in the "payment".

This human "flaw" is seen throughout Scripture. For instance, Jonah is upset with God when the people of Nineveh repent. He fails to see the generosity of God in the conversion of Nineveh as well as the gourd plant that provides him shade. He doesn't understand that God acts as He wills and all His ways are just. It is man who is unjust and therefore sees justice only in relationship to himself and not all.

Again, this jealousy of God's generosity if fleshed out in the story of the Prodigal Son. The older brother, who stayed with his father, is furious because the father lavishes gifts upon the younger son when he returns. God's gift to all is the same, eternal life. What more can I ask for? What right do I have to demand more of God simply because I have followed Him closely while others have not? Should I not instead say, "We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty."(Luke 17:10)

Lord Jesus, help me to rejoice in the gift of salvation given to all through Your suffering, death, and Resurrection. Keep me from being jealous of Your generosity to others. Teach me to be a humble servant in the vineyard of the Lord!

"Choose mortifications that don't mortify others." - Saint Josemaria Escriva, The Way # 179

* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

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