Monday, February 27

Performance Review

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard."...The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour 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. --Matthew 20:1, 9-11


Last week I underwent my annual performance review at work. The procedure this year is slightly different from last years. Our company uses a system that enables supervisors to rate qualitative performance in a quantitative way. This is supposed to ensure that the whole process is more objective. I like knowing that how my supervisor rates my job performance is based primarily on whether or not I'm doing my job. I am not being compared to others who have been here longer, or who may have different responsibilities or capabilities.

God's view of us is similar in a way. He doesn't care how long we've been going to church or how old we were when we made a public profession of our faith. He doesn't keep track of how many times we've missed Sunday School or how many checks we've dropped into the collection plate each week. When God looks at us to see how we're doing, only two things really matter. For those of us who are already Christians, God wants to know if we are being obedient and faithful to His commandments. Even more importantly, He wants us to be in a continually growing relationship with Him. Those two things go hand in hand when it comes to living out a life of faith.

In the parable of the workers in the vineyard, Jesus demonstrates that there are no bonus points to be gained for working longer or harder (according to our own assessment) than others. God doesn't pay overtime either. God's gift of grace is extended in exactly the same way to each person on earth. God extended His grace to all of us when He sent His son, Jesus, to die on the cross. Jesus' outstretched arms welcome us into the kingdom of heaven. From there we are all on the same footing--every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.

God is the only being I know who can be entirely objective while still maintaining a deep love for His children. In this we have confidence to know that our performance as a Christian is not really based on performance after all. It is based on the knowledge that we are the recipients of a gift we do not deserve. When we are ever-mindful of that fact, we are able to live faithfully and humbly, praising our Father with our actions and our words.

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