So here’s the deal; Jesus said that we are to ‘occupy until He comes for us.’ Occupy means ‘to do business, to be productive, to be a good witness of Him, and to celebrate our lives by living them to the fullest.’ Part of occupying is to plan ahead, to establish goals in areas of finance, health, ministry, education, and even in our relationships with each other. We are to be about the Master’s business till He returns for us. This being said and understood, the phrase, ‘all things being equal’ applies here because all things are very much NOT equal. We live in a world where the economy is about to crash, the bubble is about to burst, our concept of currency is about to drastically change, and our freedoms are being taken from us little by little each day. Is it just me or are things getting really crazy out there?
I like it when believers express their vision for the future, a positive vision that involves both love and support for their family and church, as well as missions and the advancement of the gospel overall.
“Where there is no (prophetic vision) revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.” – Proverbs 29:18
Many of us are doing the best we can with what we have from where we’re at. It may not be as much as we would like it to be, but it’s something. We are making the statement that says, ‘I am not giving up at working hard on occupying with the life and resources that God has given to me.’ Don’t give up! If all things were equal out there, than our ability to forecast our future goals would be easier; however, this is just not the case, all things are not equal. It’s not so much about time as it is resource, and the lack of it. It’s harder and harder to find good help these days. Too many people won’t work for minimum wage because the economy is spinning and things are just ‘not equal.’ I took a job working at a local Christian school last year and I make less money per hour than the kid working at the local McDonalds. All things are not equal. However, I have more joy in serving the Lord than flipping burgers. If we were to apply this same ratio to kingdom principles and how God’s economy works, it would look something like…
The Parable of the Laborers: “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’ 8 “So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ 9 And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. 11 And when they had received it, they complained (grumbled) against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ 13 But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” – Matthew 20:1-16
I have heard many a well meaning pastor use this passage to claim that everyone gets the same thing when we get to heaven. However, that belief conflicts with the Master’s command to ‘lay up for ourselves, treasurers in heaven.’ (Matthew 6:20) This parable speaks to the ability for a person to live their life and come to faith in the early, mid, or late part of it, and still obtaining salvation by placing their faith in Jesus. It doesn’t matter when a person comes to faith, only that they come to faith, and they will be saved. The agreed payment for each of the laborers was ‘one denarius for a day’s work’. Everyone got paid the same in the same way that everyone who comes to faith, no matter how old they are when they die, they will inherit heaven; it’s God’s grace!
This parable has more to do with the fact that when a person is saved, even late in their life, they are still given the same access into heaven as a person who was saved earlier in life. Young or old, if you receive Jesus on this side of the veil, you’re going to Heaven. When you get to Heaven, however, the rewards that await you will be in conjunction with what you did for the Lord in this life.
All things are not equal right now. Things may not seem fair or even practical at times, but one thing is for sure, we are racing toward eternity at an exponential rate of speed. There are a lot of ‘prepper’ types out there who are stocking up on solar generators, freeze dried food, stockpiles of water and ammunition, and all of the survival stuff a person might need to survive what’s coming at us. The reality is that the only way we can be properly prepared for the coming apocalypse is to be ready to be saved from it before it occurs. I am talking about receiving Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, confessing your sin, and repenting of your wickedness.
Jesus said it this way, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
– Matthew 16:25,26
- It’s in our nature to try and survive. It goes against our nature to take our own life or just give up on this one. Jesus is telling us that in order to save our life (eternally) we need to lose it, that is, surrender it to Him. When we give our heart to Jesus, He saves us from our sin; cleanses us from our unrighteousness, and He makes us whole.
There’s nothing in this world; fame, fortune, people, or things that can satisfy our longing to be loved by our Creator. This world is very temporary and when it’s over, it’s over for good. Alas, we, as people are created in God’s image. We will live forever in one of two places; Heaven, or Hell. The only way to get to heaven is through Jesus; the obvious way to get to hell is by rejecting Jesus. It’s literally that simple. All things are not equal, we don’t deserve heaven no more than the best of our kind. In fact, we all deserve hell, because we are born into sin and not qualified to be in God’s presence. When Jesus came into this world and gave Himself as a perfect sacrifice for our sin. He gave us the chance at eternal life in Him, but we have to choose for ourselves.
It almost seems to easy, almost unequal, yet it’s that simple. Jesus saves to God’s glory, this is His economy of all things not being equal. You can have everything this world has to offer, and it will never be enough to grant you access into heaven. I am reminded of the man who loved to ride motorcycles. When he died, he had his body taxidermized with his riding gear on and placed on his motorcycle. He was lowered into his grave, encased in a plexiglas coffin, motorcycle and all. It was the most radicicolous thing I had ever seen, yet he had the money, the philosophy, and the foresight to continue his version of living while he was dead. This is the case with too many people who don’t know the Lord. They think that all of their hard work and financial planning will keep them secure for their whole life; and it might, but alas, we all die in the end, and then what? Many people to believe that when this life is over, we’re just extinct, but that’s not consistent with God’s Word.
Solomon said it this way, “What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. 12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of God.” – Ecclesiastes 3:9-13
- The phrase, ‘He has put eternity in their hearts’ speaks to the fact that somehow, deep down, we all know that we go on living eternally, even after we die. The person who argues this point is challenging the precepts of God’s Word and wagering eternity on it. The truth be told, this life is NOT all that there is. All things are not equal. The Lord Himself is the final equalizer and qualifier of our life and if we place our faith and trust in Him, we will be with Him one day in eternity. It’s that simple.
When I think about all the people in the world who work so hard at building a life for themselves only to get sick and die or die suddenly, without ever coming to the knowledge and saving grace of Jesus Christ, it breaks my heart. This is why I got into the ministry in the first place. I remember God giving me a vision of Hell fire and damnation when I was a young man; it scared me severely. I said, ‘God, You need to do something about this!’ The Lord replied, ‘I did, I sent My only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world. The real question is, what are you going to do about it?’ This was the beginning of my call into full-time ministry. All things are NOT equal. A life lived to gain as much fortune, pleasure, and happiness doesn’t compare to the glory that awaits those who place their faith and trust in Jesus. More than this, think about all those people who have died without Jesus, yet who were so secure, young, healthy, or even content in living out their years without a worry. Now they are lost forever in a place of eternal torment and pain, separated from the living, loving God who would have otherwise saved them, if they were only willing.
Paul said it this way, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18
- This coming from a man who gave up all that he had to serve the Lord with everything God empowered him with. All things are not equal. The truth is, we don’t deserve Heaven no more than we do deserve Hell. Christ makes us worthy to inherit His kingdom and it’s only through Him that we can be given access to this coming glory. Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6)!
For all of those people out there who feel that they deserve good things, think again. We’re saved by God’s grace, His unmerited favor upon our lives that is due to the work that Christ did on the cross and our acceptance of it. Put another way, GRACE is getting something that we don’t deserve. MERCY is not getting something that we do deserve. JUSTICE is getting something that we deserve. FAITH is the ability to tell the difference and to make the right decision. This being said, it reminds me of a true story of a elderly mother who was pleading for the life of her convicted son who was sentenced to death for committing a murder. She pleaded with the judge, ‘Please have mercy on my son! Spare his life!’ The judge replied, ‘My lady, your son committed a murder, it’s justice that he be put to death.’ She replied, I am not asking for justice, I am asking for mercy.’ We all deserve to die, in essence, to be put to death in an eternal torment in Hell. It’s God’s grace and mercy on our lives through the work that Jesus did on the cross that we are saved from what we deserve; Hell fire and damnation, and are granted something that we don’t; Heaven. All things are NOT equal.
The next time you see something that deems not to be fair, I challenge you to consider what God’s economy looks like and to appreciate what He has done for us in the giving of His Son for our salvation. All things being equal, life would go on and things would get better and better; but alas, all things are not equal, evil is afoot and God’s judgment, which is more than just, is about to be poured out on this planet. We are about to see the revealing of the book of Revelation and all that it entails; but not before the Rapture of the Church. While many are ’ready’ to go, fewer are really ‘ready.’ Our being tired and weary of what this life has brought us is not what makes us ready to go, rather, our being ready (and willing) to stay and continue to serve the Lord in the manner that He has called us to, that’s what makes for a ready believer. All things are NOT equal. Our time is about up; but until that trumpet sounds, we are to be about the Master’s business, doing what He has called us to be doing in these last moments of this life as we know it. I can almost hear Him saying, Gabriel!
Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Northwest Missouri. He lives with his wife of 32-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren). Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate. He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry.
One thought on “All Things Being Equal”
I love that those who are actually ready to go are willing to stay in order to keep ministering