Sunday, October 28, 2012

Some Tarry and Some Labor

Matthew 20:1-16 gives us the parable of the laborers in the vineyard.  I had always looked at the parable as one about missionary work – about the hereafter, about those who spend their whole lives in the Church striving to do what is right and having someone who has put other’s through hell repent at the last hour. 
          I have labored so many hours in the hot burning sun – and God is telling me that if Maleficent should choose to repent, that her reward will be the same as my own.  That she is entitled to all the same blessings as my own.  I’ll admit that I haven’t accepted this interpretation very graciously.  But then who am I to think of myself as better if she truly surrendered herself and did/does repent and actual develop a "compassion" if you will? 

          Slaving in the vineyard is hard work.  I have often thought that I am really just so tired of being there.  I never gave another thought to those who are “waiting in line” – those would be laborers that remain at the job site in hopes that the master will return with something for them – any kind of a position that will give them some kind of wage.

          In today’s economy, it is easy to see why they would stay and tarry – but they would also hold signs that say, “I will work for food”  “Please help me.  I’m poor” and so forth. 

          I never gave the tarrying laborers a second thought.  I hadn’t thought of this parable with a different perspective until today.  And for the first time I saw myself as one of those who has stood in line more than once – and still find myself standing at times. 

          For the message that was shared today focused on those that are standing in line – for those who are doing everything diligently (to the best of their ability) and showing up at the labor site day in and day out and feel like they are just not being picked – that they, that we will never feel the blessings.

          Carrie is the wife of the second counselor, and I am married to the first.  We were actually on opposite ends of the room, but our eyes seemed to be connected to our mouths – that is every time we would make a comment or participated by reading, our eyes would leak and start a chain reaction of making our voices crack.

          She didn’t go into detail about why she was crying - but I think many understood.  She and Dan have been trying to adopt.  It’s been a painful process.  Why, when they attend their Church meetings, and hold callings, and serve diligently are they still waiting in line?  Why can they not labor in the vineyard?  For how long must they tarry? Why does it have to be in God’s due time?

          I have spent many years asking myself that one.  It was painful to watch those I had taught in sunbeams to get married and have children long before I even had a prospect.  People my age were experiencing their second and third season of life.  I was still in the first season and wondered if that was it. 

          The instructor who shared the lesson is in her 40’s and has never been married.  Actually there are several sisters in my ward who have never been married.  Some have friends moving through autumn and some have actually arrived in winter.  I’m probably somewhere between summer and fall – sort of like the weather is now.

          Surrendering ourselves to Him is hard.  We need to have faith that He really does know what’s best for us – that the trials we endure right now are just to make us stronger down the road.  That our “waiting in line” isn’t done in vain – that there is a purpose.  We need to endure while we wait – impatiently or not.  We can’t control His time.  So why not accept it graciously?  

          Perhaps if I dwell on the subject long enough, I can learn to accept it graciously.  I have been blessed.  And I need to focus more fully on those blessings.  Because right now I really am not very gracious about the whole tarrying matter.

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