Peter compared himself with the rich young ruler who went away from Jesus sorrowful, because he wasn’t prepared to leave everything he had to follow Jesus. Peter had left everything to follow Jesus, but he wanted to know what his reward would be.
In answer to Peter’s question, “What then will there be for us?” Jesus told the parable of a landowner who employed workers in his vineyard. Some were hired very early in the morning having agreed what they would be paid for a full day’s work. Some worked from 9.00 am, some from noon, some from 3.00 pm. These were all told they would be paid a fair wage. Others labourers were taken on at 5.00 pm, so they only had an hour in which to work, and these were not told whether they would be paid at all.
At the end of the day they were all paid the same wage – the wage agreed to those who had worked the longest. This caused quite a stir and seemed unfair and unjust to those who had worked the longest. In fact they were victims of jealousy. They didn’t protest because they weren’t paid more but because others weren’t paid less. They begrudged their employer’s generosity to the undeserving workers.
Peter hadn’t grasped the principles of God’s kingdom, in which God doesn’t promise rewards simply for working for Him, but to those who obey Him without thought of reward. There are no rankings in God’s kingdom. It’s ruled by grace, and not human effort or merit. In fact the very idea of merit and reward is alien, because nothing can be earned or deserved.
We can be busy doing our Father’s work and yet not do His will from our heart. In God`s Kingdom the King looks for those who’ll obediently serve Him with their lives, simply because they love Him. They’ll also recognise that even the love they have for the King is not their own love. It’s been put in their heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Amazing grace, and not working, serving, striving or doing is the governing characteristic of the Kingdom of God.
So if we complain about the unfairness of it all, when we feel others are more favourably treated than we are, or held in higher esteem, or even seem more gifted it’s a clear indication that we’re not yielded to the Master’s will, but we’re asking the question which grieves Him, “What’s in it for me?”
Prayer: Father, search me today and know my heart. Search out any selfish motives that I don’t recognise myself. Please inspire me to love You with all my heart, to obey You and serve You, with no thought of selfish gain, but simply out of love and gratitude to You for Your amazing grace. Amen.
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