Monday, December 29, 2014

The Bargaining

I mentioned the David Warren Family yesterday. Their gifts are not confined to music. David preached in the morning service from Matthew 20:1-16. He gave four excellent points from that scripture, but today I want to stick to the first one:
Beware of bargaining with God.
That ought to be a given, but we do it so often. Second daughter and her husband went Saturday to see “Unbroken” and enjoyed the movie. She was aware of “rest of the story” articles, too. The Washington Times and Religion News Service, carry information from the Billy Graham organization about Louis Zamperini’s bargain with God.

We all tend to offer these bargains to God:
Lord, if you will (insert what you wish God to do), then I will (insert what you promise God you’ll do.)
Zamperini’s bargain was to have God save him and in return he would serve God. Here’s Zamperini’s quote on the result after attending a 1949 Billy Graham crusade:
“I started to leave the tent meeting, and I felt awful guilty about my life. Yes, I had a lot of great times, a lot of great experience, a lot of escape from death, but I still didn’t like my life after the war. I came home alive. God kept His promise. I didn’t keep mine, and so I went forward and accepted Christ.”
The laborers in Matthew 20 made bargains with the householder, used as an example of God’s kingdom:

For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. (Matthew 20:1-2 KJV)

The householder went back a few hours later:

And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. (Matthew 20:3-4 KJV)

Apparently, even more were needed as he made that same bargain with laborers the sixth, ninth and eleventh hours – whatsoever is right I will give you. At the end of the work, all the laborers, from the first through the last earned that same penny a day. The first hired did not like the bargain:

And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. (Matthew 20:11-12 KJV)

Our God is just. Not in the way men are just, but with true justice, as shown in the answer:

But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? (Matthew 20:13-15 KJV)

God gives good gifts (Matthew 7:7-11) and wants us all to have His gifts (II Peter 3:9) so why would we want to bargain for more when all we have to do is:

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8 KJV)

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