My family and I just got back from the most magical place on Earth. No, not Cedar Springs—Disney! It is a wonderful place. They have gone to great lengths to ensure that you never see construction, they pick up every scrap of paper on the cement, and they don’t sell any gum (though I stepped on some in line). They have spent millions of dollars to ensure that you and your kids have the most wonderful experience, and it feels sometimes like you have spent millions, too! When you arrive back at your hotel, you are met by a smiling face that tells you, “Welcome home.” They have got it down to a science, and it’s a little slice of heaven.
There is, however, a down side to all of this—lines. And lots of them! Our family waited in line for over 2 hours for a ride that seemed like it lasted 30 seconds. It was exciting and exhilarating, but I’m not sure it was worth a two-hour wait. Then you wait in line for food (that costs a family of 5 over $50.00), and we shared drinks. Then you wait in line for the bus, you wait in line for a picture with Mickey Mouse, and you wait in line for airline security (then they take your water that you paid $5 for). Waiting in line is not one of the things that God has gifted me with. I’m guessing you are not either?
In fact, at one of the more memorable events of our short vacation, we witnessed the real downside of waiting. A bus to one of the parks was run-ning late, and apparently there was a missing bus, and so the bus was jam-packed. To top it off we made another stop and tried to fit more people on the already cramped bus, and two ladies got on the bus and they were really going at each other. At issue was who was in line first, and who had cut in line. It got really heated and I thought it would come to blows but thank-fully it didn’t. After it was all over, I was talking to my daughter about this situation and it struck us that around 30 percent of the world’s population lives on less than $1 a day, and here people are complaining about having to wait another 15 minutes for a bus to take them to Disney World. I am no better; I complain about tedious things all the time.
The reality is that we all have a place in line whether we want to be in line or not. Most of the time we don’t want to be in a line because we don’t like being in line, but we are all continually comparing ourselves to one an-other and determining our place in line. This is explained to us in a parable that Jesus tells in Matthew 20. It’s called the parable of the workers in the vineyard, and you can read it on your own, but basically this is the story. An owner of a vineyard goes early in the morning and hires some workers for a set fee to work until dark, then three hours later the landowner goes back to hire some more (for the same fee), and then he does the same thing again and again until there is only one hour of daylight left and he hires some men for the same pay.
When it’s time for the workers to be paid, they all get the same amount of money, and you can guess where this is going. The ones hired first feel like they got shafted because they have worked longer. Especially since the ones that were hired at the last minute got the same reward. Jesus tells those that listen that this is a picture of Heaven. Some will come to Him early, and some late, and some at the last second. The reward is the same for all. We serve a generous God that takes us as we are, and His love for us isn’t graded on a scale. He loves us all the same. It is His desire is that we all come to Him. Because His love for us is so generous, our love for others should be the same.
The next time you’re tempted to be upset or to judge who’s in front of you in line, remember what Jesus has done for you! Then you can spend eternity in the most magical place—heaven!
Rev. Tom Holloway
Solon CenTeRWeSleyan CHuRCH
15671 algoma ave, Cedar Spring