Now, hold up. This isn’t one of those self discovery – I’m finally me posts. I just finally realized who I am in a story; a story many of us have heard many times. The story goes like this:
First and Lasts
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found still others standing idle, He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 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.’ “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 20:1-16)
I’m Last – in More Ways than One
Now, I’m fully aware this story is about the kingdom of heaven, but as do most heavenly principles, the story applies to many aspects of life. First of all, I think most of us see ourselves in the story as the part of the workers who were hired first; and so we believe that our lesson is to have grace towards those whom our master wishes to be generous to.
Today, I saw myself in the place of those who were hired last. You see, I’ve been struggling hardcore lately with something called imposture syndrome. I’ve been a pastor for about 8 years, and yes I have schooling to be credentialed with The Assemblies of God, but I have no degree. I also am an award winning author of two books, have met amazing people like Dallas Jenkins, Ann Pirvu, Stef Butler, Ali Bradley, Emily Hutchinson, Jodi King, TaraBeth Leach, Cliff Curtis and more – yet have no degree. I also work at what I would consider a prestigious church and am given amazing opportunities yet have no degree. Something inside me keeps saying I DON’T DESERVE ALL THIS! My colleague with the Masters or Doctorates deserves these blessings; not me – and all the while, I imagine them looking down on me like those who were hired first “and put the work in” looked down on those who were hired last.
My Pledge to You As the Undeserved
I realized that I know what it feels like to be hired last. It’s hard. I’m often embarrassed by my “lack”. BUT- and a huge BUT – I’m extremely humbled and honored to be where I’m at AND am making the most of every opportunity to “deserve” it if that’s even possible. I’m on my way to a degree and I’ve also become a credentialed coach with the Assemblies of God. Let me also tell you that I try to pay forward every opportunity and blessing that comes my way to those who are coming after me.
I won’t let this life I’ve been given that makes no sense go to waste. I promise to try to make you who have “borne the burden of the work in the heat of the day” as well as the Master proud! Please cheer me on? I know you more rightly deserve to be standing here getting what’s coming our way from His great hands, but I sure am proud to be standing next to you!