This post started off being a lighthearted fluff piece about the light misty rain and umbrellas, and soon turned a little bit philosophical….
This morning I wondered if the lightly misting rain would turn into a full blown rain requiring protective gear. I didn’t want to carry my umbrella, and it was too warm for hot natured me to justify wearing my rain jacket—besides, I saw so many other employees with their umbrellas—I figured I was safe. I decided to live dangerously: I left both my rain jacket and my umbrella in the SUV!
Walking across the lengthy parking lot, a thought snuck up and hit me—even as I was thanking all my umbrella welding co-workers…”What if it rained anyway—because it was my turn to provide the protection of the carried umbrella?” Hmmm…..
Throughout the day I thought of this question and a few others. I’ve always had a very strong sense of right and wrong. Even as a child, I believed in justice for all. I loved the Beretta theme song and sang right along especially when it came to my favorite line …“If you can’t do the time—don’t do the crime.”
Don’t get me wrong, I believe strongly in grace and forgiveness. And I’m deeply thankful for them. But I always had a problem with the parable of the Father and the Prodigal Son. It’s found in Luke 15:11-32. It’s a beautiful parable illustrating the forgiveness of God (the Father) and our (the younger Son). However, I always identified with the Older Brother—the one who stayed home and did the right thing while his Younger Brother was off gallivanting in some foreign land, burning through his inheritance (that he demanded his Daddy give him before his Daddy even died). The younger brother ended up broke and feeding off the pig slop, until he decided to humble himself and walked home with his tail tucked between his legs, to ask to work as his Fathers Servant . I love the picture of the Father being overjoyed when he learns of the return of his Son. I feel overwhelmed and underserving of forgiveness so complete and freely given to someone so underserving—because of course, it is a beautiful picture of salvation that we are offered freely and cannot work to earn…but I kind of agreed with the Older Brother…. It just didn’t seem fair…
And what about parable about the Landowner who went to the Temp Agency and hired Day Labor? It’s found in Matthew 20:1-16. The Landowner went several times throughout the day and hired someone each time. At the end of the day he paid the workers hired last, first. Then he paid the workers hired at lunchtime, and finally the workers hired in the morning. The thing is—they all received the same wages. Again, I identified with the guy hired in the morning and saw his point of view that since he worked more, he should have received more compensation. The response given rankled with me at first, but it was “just.” The first laborer did the job he was asked and he received the wage he had agreed to—it was none of his business what the others agreed to and received, and ultimately, it was the Landowners right to set the rewards however he saw fit.
Matthew 5:45 says, It rains on the just and the unjust alike. Even though I love to walk in a gentle misty rain, I saw rain as a bad thing, so I never really understood that verse. Until I heard a catchy little country tune by Luke Bryan called Rain is a Good Thing. The chorus has this line in it…Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey, whiskey makes my baby feel a little frisky. Rain is a good thing! Okay, that’s probably not the best song to elaborate on the meaning of a Bible verse, but it reminded me that rain, in the right quantity, and at the right time, can be life-giving. And both the just and the unjust benefit from the life-giving rain, whether they deserve to or not.
But I want fairness…and justice…as long as it’s fair and just for someone else—what I really want for me is what I have—grace.
Coming back around to my fluffy-turned-philosophical question of the morning—what if it’s my turn to provide the umbrella? This morning I left it in the SUV, and it turned into a pretty day by the time I left work this evening—but what if, it had been my turn…and what if this can be applied to more than just carrying my umbrella on a misty day….
What if it is my turn? Will I provide protection? Be the change? Forgive those I think have wronged me? Do the right thing? No answers today, just a lot of questions to ask myself....