1 Peter 4:15-19 admonishes us to, “Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”
It isn’t easy to see others slacking off in the workplace… much more getting away with it. The lack of teamwork can lead to bitterness and resentment from those who are pulling their own weight. While we may be tempted to grumble, brood, or “even the score” through a bit of slacking, ourselves, Scripture makes it clear that God expects more.
In Matthew 20:1-17 we read, “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; and to those he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And so they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day long?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.’ When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’ But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous? So the last shall be first, and the first last.” The moral of the story? It’s God’s responsibility to “even the score,” not ours.
It may be tempting to justify a poor performance on the basis of our co-workers actions. At the end of the day, however, the only person we’re responsible for is ourselves: our attitudes and our actions. We don’t get the right to a one sided re-write of our original agreement with our employer just because others are making as much as we do, but are working half as hard. We are bound by our word.
So what do we do when the teamwork is lacking and our pay is disproportionate to our labor? We’ll take a look at that question next week!