“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.”
Imagine walking through the gates of Heaven, being warmly embraced by Jesus as He beams with love for you, and invites you to dine with Him at the table. As you look around for familiar faces, you see to your horror the pedophile who raped and murdered your 5 year old daughter as Jesus warmly embraces him and invites him to the table as well! How do you think you would feel? How do you feel now?
Still stunned, you begin to notice others mingling with the Apostle Peter, Corrie ten Boom, and Billy Graham. You see in amazement Adolf Hitler being ushered to your table. Rosie O’Donnell is conversing with Eric Liddel. King David shares a laugh with President Obama and Donald Trump. You think surely you must be dreaming, but the Presence of Jesus tells you differently. You are in Heaven with the worst of the worst and the best of the best. How do you feel as you sit down to dine, rubbing shoulders with such men and women in the shining presence of God? People who perhaps found Jesus at the very last moment of their lives. People who did such awful things or lived their whole lives mocking the Gospel and persecuting Christians.
“When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘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.’” (Matthew 20:11-12) We went to church, dedicated our life to missions, fed the hungry, served the homeless, encouraged the weak, adopted the fatherless, suffered for the furtherance of the Gospel of Jesus, loved Him with our whole heart for all our days! And they get the same treatment we do?!!
How does that make you feel?
“But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’” (Matthew 20:13-15)
We are brought low by the astonishing generosity of God.
Thus is the unbridled, all-consuming, crazy love of God. The God who “so loved the world”. The God who desires all to be saved and mourns the loss of even one person. The Shepherd who leaves the 99 to recover the 1. The Daddy who runs out to gather the prodigal in his arms. The God who is completely Other, who does not have love but is love.
Can we accept God as Jesus says he is? Can we disabuse ourselves of the false god we may have constructed, in whatever form it has taken? Are we willing to see Him as he is, not how we think He should be?
The astonishing fact is that God loves me with the same 100% love he has for Jesus, which is His exact same 100% love for someone like the dictator Kim Jong Un. That is the God I love.
Be still and know……