Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Short End of the Stick (02/20/14)
TITLE: A Penny Promised is a Penny Earned
By Dusty Fontaine
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Some friends and I went into town to find work. They were hiring carpenters, tent-makers, store clerks; all manner of employment was available. There was a buffet of careers displayed alluringly before us.
In the midst of the busy market stood a man clothed in a drab full-length garment. While the other vendors appeared successful and well-to-do, this man looked like a servant.
He introduced himself as Jesus of Nazareth. He said his Father had a farm that needed tending and was looking for sincere hands to plant, water and nurture his fields and to feed his flock.
One of my friends hollered over my shoulder. "When would we get paid?"
"Well, you won't get your wages daily, as some of these hirers are offering. All good stewards will receive their wages when the season has ended and all tasks are completed."
"What wages will you pay?" another shouted.
"My Father will reward you with a white robe, a crown, a mansion in His city, and eternal life."
"This man promises fairy tales!" someone yelled. "Let's not waste any more time on him."
Most of them walked away and took jobs with other vendors. I was intrigued with the man and decided to take him up on his offer, as did a few others.
Jesus led us out of the city. We stood on a hill, high above the valley that contained his Father’s land. There were sheep dotting the landscape for miles. There were acres and acres of wheat fields, vineyards, and olive trees. Laborers were busily maintaining the well-manicured property.
Each of us received a book that explained the tasks ahead of us. After a short training session, our small group of workers joined those who were previously hired and had already begun their assigned tasks. Some of us were asked to prepare the soil in the fields, others to sow seeds, and still others to water.
I was assigned to feed the sheep and make sure they didn’t wander off. Wolves in the area were known to sneak in among the flocks and devour the weaker sheep. I was to keep my eyes peeled for these vicious attackers.
The property was so vast that I didn’t have a chance to meet most of the other laborers, even after being employed there for months. But Jesus assured me that at the end of the season he would gather all the laborers together for a magnificent feast. I looked forward to that day.
As time went on, more people were brought in to work on the farm: some a few months after my friends and I started, some halfway through the season, and still others very close to the end of season. I was glad to have their help, especially as harvest and shearing time neared.
Once all of the work was completed, a ram’s horn blew, announcing all tasks had been completed. Everyone lined up to receive their wages. In front of the line were the last to arrive on the farm. Jesus and his servants met each one and handed out white robes, crowns, a deed to a mansion and eternal life.
I heard several voices begin shouting behind me, “Hey! That’s the same thing we were promised – and we’ve been working on this farm a lot longer than they have. It seems like we’re getting the short end of the stick. It’s not fair!”
Jesus hushed the crowd and calmly explained: “Have I not made an agreement with each of you? And have I not kept my promises to all, as you have kept yours to me? We are a family and we will all share in the bounties of my Father’s kingdom together. Isn’t that fair?”
I looked around me and saw that those who had complained now appeared satisfied. I thought about how Jesus was the perfect employer and how happy I was that I chose to work for him. His decision to give the newcomers the same wage was his to make. We would not have completed our tasks without them. I was happy for their participation during the season and I am happy to have them participate in the rewards, now.
When I reached the front of the line, Jesus met me with a smile. He patted me on the back and said, “Well done, good and faithful servant” and handed me all he promised me.
There was no short end of the stick there. Only love.
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