Last Shall Be First

My wife and I just finished watching seasons 1 and 2 of Mad Men.  I know, we’re a little bit behind, but that’s how I roll with most TV shows.  I didn’t start watching The Office until season 2, I got into LOST 2 years late, and I will never under any circumstances be a fan of Glee.  To this note, we are forced to rent/buy these shows on DVD to catch up.  Well, we went through the second season of Mad Men in five days.  It was intense.

Without giving away too much information, I want to tell you about  my least favorite character, Duck Phillips (Even if you don’t watch the show, you’ll still get the picture).  Duck Phillips waltzed into Sterling-Cooper, an advertising agency on Madison Avenue, as if he owned the place.  His quick rise in influence created huge amounts of tension between him and the show’s protagonist, Don Draper.  Next thing you know, Duck wiggles his way up the corporate ladder even more by constructing a merger with an international company, thus becoming Don’s new boss.  It’s very stressful.  I was as frustrated as Don – I promise.

What I don’t really like about Duck is that he didn’t really do anything significant to warrant his influential posture.  He was hired in from the outside, and within a couple of weeks he started acting like he ran the place.  He didn’t put in the time like the other account executives or managers.  He simply showed up and expected everyone to cater to his demands and expectations.

Have you ever known anyone like that?

Yesterday, I was reading my least favorite parable in the Bible, the parable of the workers in the vineyard.  It in Matthew 20:1-16.  As a quick refresher, a vineyard owner goes out at five different times of the day and hires guys off the streets to come work in his vineyard.  Some were hired in the early morning hours, some mid-day, and other late in the afternoon.  The owner agrees to pay each man one denarius for working, and he does.  The guys that only worked a couple of hours were paid the same as those that worked all day.

Sounds like a sweet deal if you only worked a few hours.

Obviously, the guys who worked all day started complaining.  The owner responds, “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?”

This is a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven.  Ultimately, God’s grace is for Him to dish out.  Even if I die after 90 years of doing my best to remain faithful and obedient, I will receive the same reward as some guy who served God for only a fraction of that time.  The super-righteous don’t get bigger mansions in heaven, do they?

What does God’s grace mean to you?


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