On Thanksgiving

Daily Meditation, 11-22-2018

Matthew 20

Jesus tells us a parable about a vineyard owner who, throughout the day, hires various laborers and commissions each for the same wage. There is, in this, a very valuable lesson which so often gets overlooked in our search for piety. It is a very spiritual meaning, displayed through our earthly behaviors; the very essence of our salvation.

See, each of these workers had agreed to a particular wage, worked their allotted time, and received their agreed upon wage. In itself, each of them would have been perfectly content with, grateful for, even, the wages which they had received. It was not until they began to compare their compensation and time with that of others that they began grumbling.

We would do well to not merely study, but actually apply this lesson to our own lives. In our generation, it is almost commonplace to see the highlights of everyone else’s lives and compare our own lives to these highlights. See, when we focus our minds, our hearts, on those blessings which we have received, it is possible to remain truly grateful for those blessings. However, the moment we allow the covetous spirit of our age entrance that we begin to be overcome with this feeling of ingratitude, this feeling of “why did they get that, while I’ve only got this.” It is when we begin comparing our lives to others that we begin to grow discontent, that we begin to say “this isn’t fair,” or “I wish I had…” It is at the very moment that we allow ourselves to be overcome with this avarice of our culture that we are no longer content with everything that we have been given.

See, if each of the workers in this parable had received their due, given thanks, and gone their way, they would have been perfectly content with what they had received. However, the moment they began comparing what they had earned to what the others had earned, this spirit of discontent came over them. Rather than saying, “I was unable to find work and you employed me, now I can feed my family, thank you,” they began saying, “I worked twice as long as him, how dare you pay me the same thing that you paid them.” So often, when we receive blessings with a sense of ingratitude, it’s easy to forget what it was like before we had them. We become the unemployed man who finally finds employment and then begins complaining that someone else has more than us. We begin to be overtaken with this spirit of constantly desiring more.

May we learn from this lesson. May we always be content with those things which we have received, knowing that ingratitude is leaven which will begin to permeate our lives. May we constantly look on our own lives with sincere gratitude, constantly giving thanks to the Giver of all that we have received. And may we never allow the covetousness and greed of the age a place in our hearts, lest we begin to grumble against God Himself.

May the peace of the Lord be with you all, my beloved brothers and sisters.

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