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In the immediate post-covid environment we have been living in, we are no strangers to the increase of wages and cost of living. We have witnessed The Great Resignation, a period of time where many workers left their current jobs to find better-paying jobs across town or online. We also saw new hires making much more money than we did when we started in the same positions. It is reasonable to expect that many Christian stewards feel the tension between being content with what they earn, and the urge to find something that pays a little more. But here are some questions we must ask ourselves:
- Is there a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ reason to go searching for a better paying job?
- How can we strive to be content with what the Lord has provided?
- How do we deal with contentment and providence?
In this episode, we will take a look at the Parable of the Workers in the vineyard in Matthew 20 to help us explore how to be content in an environment that potentially breeds greed.
I’ve been working at a company for 5 years, and the new hires are making more than I am, even though I am in a more senior position. During the immediate post-covid economy, this is happening everywhere. Many of my colleagues could make more money being a barista at Starbucks than we do at a professional organization. SO…how do I deal with being content, while also knowing my value? AND…with knowing the aforementioned info, how can I be content with my pay?
Believe it or not, (but it is best to believe it) the Scriptures do speak directly to these questions! Where, you may ask? Let’s read Matthew chapter 20.
Parable of the workers in the Vineyard – Matthew 20
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ 5 So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”
Jesus is using this parable of the workers in the vineyard to explain the kingdom of God. The daily wage that Jesus talks about is eternal life, offered through his sacrifice. God is continuously asking people to join his kingdom. The main point of this parable of the workers in the vineyard is that, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16) This statement, along with the parable, indicates that those who are saved last (whether that be late in their life or late in the history of the world) will receive the same reward as those who were saved first (Messiah of God).
GOD IS GENEROUS! Especially in His offer to all that will come into His Kingdom! Come early, come late, just COME and you will receive Eternal Life and all the benefits and rewards!
Now, back to our scenario about income disparity and being content. Here are some practical next steps for addressing this dilemma. First if you are feeling or experience income disparity and discontentment, you need to:
1. Check your heart: Do you have an entitlement mentality?
- Why do you feel like you should earn more?
- Could it be a “greed” or “envy” situation starting to grow in your heart and mind?
2. Have an open and honest conversation
- Is your boss going back on a deal they previously made with you? (v. 13 – But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?)
- Have they wronged you?
- Are you simply jealous of the better deal a newer employee got?
3. Make a decision – 4 potential outcomes
- You get a raise – If so, PRAISE GOD, and thank your employer!
- You don’t get a raise – If so, trust God that He is in this decision and is using this for His work in you.
- You get fired – Not the desired outcome, but it totally could be the best thing for you in the long run.
- You quit and move on – May we recommend time in prayer before you do this, and if this is the desired outcome, it would be very good to speak to family and friends for counsel prior to doing so.
Can you trust God with the decision that was made?
Principles to Consider – How to Be Content
Live within your means – when contentment is poor stewardship
- If you are in a situation where the income does not meet the expenses, and you have done everything to lower your expenses (and for some assistance in this, it would be good to go back and listen to episodes 56 and 57 about increasing income and decreasing spending)…if you have done everything to lower your expenses, then contentment would be poor stewardship.
- The good steward needs to trust in the Lord, step out of that position, and find a position and income that will be able to meet your financial needs for you and your family.
Contentment vs providence.
- Be content with where you are at. Pray that God would provide for you and that you would be satisfied in him.
- “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:11–12, NIV84)
- Trust in God, and not your income or your money!
- “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, NIV84)
- God has brought you where you are, and has equipped you with what you know.
Good stewards are to be faithful. This is our end-game! Faithfulness! If someone in your organization is earning more than you and you have been there longer and have greater skills to do the job…
- Continue to be faithful daily to your work!
- Continue to be faithful daily to your co-workers!
- Continue to be faithful daily to your bosses
- Consider settling the heart and being content…
- Consider starting the process of looking for employment elsewhere
- Take advantage of our free personal stewardship reviews so you can take your next steps to being a better steward.
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