Matthew 20: Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. You know the story, the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sen them into his vineyard. ...The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour cam and earth received a denarius. So when those came who were hired firs the expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it,they began to grumble against the landowner....But he answer them, Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous. So the last will be first and the first will be last.
Two wonderful friends of mine just received a big gift for a job I did years ago. Upon completion of my work, I received essentially nothing. My first reaction was rationalized resentment, yes they did great, but must we be so extravagant? My next reaction was self pity--I worked hard too and all I got was a cute coffee mug.
This morning I considered my pride and envy for what it actually is--self centered and small. I read the parable in Matthew 20 a couple of times. I always "related" to the workers who arrived early, worked their tails off and felt unfairly compensated for their effort. What if I am the guy that shows up as the sun is setting and collects a full day's wage? What if I am really blessed not only more than I deserve, but actually I have not put much effort into the work of the day but am receiving full wages? It never occurred to me that based on the kingdom work of others, I am late to the game and overpaid in contrast to their effort.
Perspective is a simple remedy for petty envy, next step--celebrating the bounty others receive, not just dodging my one jealously.