Parable Of Work

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I find in my encounters that many individuals have a skewed idea of Jesus and what it means to be a Christian. These people can range from die hard "Bible Beaters" to the flaky self-fulfilled dunno if there is a God types. To be fair to the unbelievers, there are many times that Christians have given them good reason to question Jesus. It so works against our faith to have these confused and obfuscated ideas that I'm up to putting a few of them right.

One of the topics that is so misunderstood is works. Here is a good parable:

"What do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go work today in the vineyard.'
"And he answered, 'I will not'; but afterward he regretted it and went.
"The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, 'I will, sir'; but he did not go.
"Which of the two did the will of his father?"

(In all fairness to the elders and priests of this story, in my questioning I have never heard a Mormon, nor most Christians answer this parable correctly.)

They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. (Matthew 21:28-31)

What does Jesus's response tell you? What it tells me is a reminder of what I already know: The GOD who made the heavens and the earth does not need my-or yours-or anyone's efforts. He is quite capable of getting the job done without my input-right?

But Faith without works is dead! Exactly. Again why work is misunderstood!

God does want us to work for him, but only with a willing heart. He can do anything but wants our help because we are willing to give. Those who have a willing heart will have works. The true Christian is one who is willing to work when needed. A true servant is not just one that is seen doing a tremendous amount of work out of sense of guilt.

There are hard workers in some churches who think the building will fall down if they aren't there. If their heart is happy to work, great. If they are feeling obligated or guilted into the work then it is not what God wants. The true Christian wants to work but might not get anything done.

God does not want or need a guilty worker.

Of course, the difference between God's idea of "accomplishment" and man's are based on two entirely different time scales. We don't have to fly to Guatemala and build 1000 homes dressed in white uniforms with fancy underwear on to be good workers. God may use you to do something as innocuous as say hello to a stranger with a smile (who might be depressed thinking that no one notices them). He may use you to write a check to a non-profit and put it in the mail (who are at their wits end about a dollar amount the must have and don't know where to turn). You don't know what his goal is when you are obedient.

Why would anyone think they could presume to know the mind of God in anything he does? That's why we have the Word and Jesus to work with.