Many times people come through our neighborhood looking for work. They offer to mow the grass, rake the leaves, shovel the snow, or whatever else needs to be done. I think I said ok once, but most of the time, I tell them no. I've always felt uneasy about turning them away, because it is apparent that they desperately want the employment. My husband would confirm my decisions to turn them away, saying that he didn't think we should be spending our money to have our yard work done. We try to use our money frugally, so I thought that maybe my rejection of the "day-laborers" was warranted under the principle of stewardship and wisdom in spending our resources. But my soul never had peace about my decisions to turn the workers away.
Well, last week I had another opportunity before me to hire someone to rake our leaves. I explained that my son and I like to rake the leaves into a pile so he can play in them, and the man said that he would gladly rake them into a big pile at the bottom of the hill. Then (making another excuse to justify turning him away) I noticed that we didn't have that many leaves in our yard yet, so I said that we didn't need him to rake the leaves this time. He said, with disappointment in his eyes, "Really?" -- I was troubled in my spirit as I turned him away, and I was even more distraught as I saw him go from house to house around our block, having no luck, and eventually disappearing around the corner. What did I do?
Just about that time, Josh came out of the house. I said to him that I thought I had made a mistake. I explained my encounter with the man, and Josh confirmed his usual reaction to the scenario by saying that we didn't really need to have our leaves raked yet and that it wouldn't be a good use of money to hire someone to rake our yard. I felt some consolation, but I continued to ponder the situation in my heart.This situation as well as the previous similar situations weighed on my heart, and I pleaded with the Lord about what I should do. A few days later, I woke up with what I believe was a revelation from the Holy Spirit, all in the form of Scripture, about the issue tormenting my soul. Here are the verses that permeated my mind:
40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5, NIV)6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. (2 Corinthians 9, NIV)[Excerpt from the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard]3"About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' 5So they went.
"He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'
7" 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered.
"He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.' (Matthew 20, NIV)