Friday, March 27, 2015

I was greedy

Many years ago before I was married, I had my own apartment.  I was in the Canadian Reserves and had to go away for 5 weeks one summer for training.  I had a friend who was in university and worked but still lived with her parents.  I talked to her about subletting my place to help me with costs plus to bring in my mail and water my plants.  She told me straight up that she didn't want to spend a lot of money because she was on a tight budget.  Yet for her, the idea of living alone for a few weeks and in town {shaving time off her commute} was appealing to her.  We agreed on a set amount for her to pay me and I went away knowing my home was taken care of.  It was a mutually convenient situation.

When I came home after my medic course, this friend announced that she bought a car.  She was so excited and wanted to show me, but I was mad and refused.  I was so annoyed that after telling me about her tight budget, she had enough to buy a car!  That was the reason we had agreed on a very low amount for her to stay in my apartment!  She explained that we had agreed on an amount and she worked around that, but I was stubborn.  I felt taken advantage of.
Fast forward to this morning.  I am reading the parable of the workers in the vineyard in Matthew 20.  A landowner hired workers for his vineyard and they worked all day long.  Other workers came on the job site later in the day but they all got paid the same amount.  The workers who were there first and worked the most hours, felt that it was unfair to be paid the same as people who worked fewer hours.  But the landowner reminded them that they hadn't been cheated.  They agreed to work for a certain wage and he paid them that.  If he wanted to pay the others the same, he could do what he wanted with his money.  Here's the passage:
11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner.12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ 13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

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After reading about the vineyard workers, my mind drifted to that friend and apartment situation that was 18 years ago!  I was so wrong!  I should have been grateful that someone even stayed at my apartment and paid me what she did to help with my rent.  After all, it was my responsibility anyway!  I should have been more understanding of my hardworking friend who was in university full-time plus working.  {This is the same friend who had a paper route when she was in Junior High and always demonstrated a strong work ethic.}  And I was wrong to get mad when we agreed on an amount because I was being purely selfish and greedy.

Essentially I wanted more of her money!  {Talk about humbling me now!}  I was so self-centered and my personal situation didn't change whether she had a car or not.  I realize how wrong I was and I will be sending her a message next to apologize for that!

Equally, the workers' pay didn't change whether more people came on the job site or not.  They should have been content too.  We must be careful to not compare what we have to what is going around us.  We will end up feeling cheated and slighted because of our selfish nature.

Reminds me of this quote by Theodore Roosevelt:

I need to be more thankful and grateful for what I have rather than looking for more.  What about you?

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