In our daily lives, when we put more effort, we expect to be rewarded. For example, when we study more than anyone else, we expect to get into prestigious colleges. When we work hard at work, we expect to be promoted. Some would even apply this to our religions. If we follow the tenets, we will be rewarded by God. But will we be rewarded? The following are from the new testament.
There is a parable about a good landowner who grows grapes. One day he went down to the village to hire laborers to work his fields. In the morning he hired a few laborers for a specific amount per day. In the afternoon he did the same thing. Before the sun went down, he hired a few more laborers. At the end of the day, he gathered the workers together to pay them for their efforts. To the surprise of everyone, he paid the same amount of money to all the laborers, even though some had only worked only an hour. To the dismay of the workers who started early in the morning, they started to complain of the unfairness of the good landowner. To many people reading this story, it does not appear to be fair. But God may have a different perspective?
Another parable is about the Pharisee and the publican. 18:10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 18:11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 18:12I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I get. 18:13But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God, be thou merciful to me a sinner. God accepted the publican’s prayer, but did not accept the Pharisee’s prayer.
Both of these parables go against the righteousness or fairness of man. But why does God have a different perspective of the situation? May it be that some tasks we do for our own profits and advancement, like the workers in the grape vineyard, or our efforts for our education and work. Some follow the tenets of the church for their own salvation, and not the salvation of others. This may have been the situation of the Pharisee. In the Tip of the Writing Brush, is the following
If you clearly know this origin,
you will always be assured, wherever you may go. 10-48
If only I have taught you the origin clearly,
you will understand everything I say. 10-54
The origin represents the beginning of mankind. God created mankind to live a joyous life. This is what we must believe in our hearts when we pray to God. This may have been lacking in the heart of the Pharisee, and present in the heart of the publican when he confessed of his sins. In summary, take care of others, and God will take care of you!