Almost before my keyboard cooled down after the last post, I had that uncomfortable feeling of incompleteness. While most lawyers would say that the estate manager of the story was well within his rights to independently negotiate each worker’s wage, I was still left with that uneasy, gnawing feeling.
I had an experience recently that struck home. I’m an electronic engineer by profession, and I was getting pricing for an expensive integrated circuit. I got one price from the web site of the distributor ($670). I called the distributor directly and received a lower price over the phone ($530). I then spoke with my account manager, and she quoted a still lower price ($382). These are no small differences! Certainly they have the right to set whatever pricing structure they want, but I was a little miffed at the inconsistency…
I then realized how important consistency is to our lives. Fixing design problems is a given as an engineer. But a bug showing up at random intervals can lead to rapid hair loss! We humans will refuse to conduct business, or even have a relationship with someone who is inconsistent.
Do we have a right to expect God to be consistent? Thinking further, why did Jesus go out of his way to emphasize that a central tenet of God’s grace is inconsistency (again, from our perspective)? Since consistency, justice and fairness are as central to our lives today as they were in Jesus’ time, this saying – “Many of the first ending up last, and the last first” – must have tweaked Jesus’ audience as well.
I think the key to understanding this lies in the nature of “consistency”. Consistency implies cause and effect. I do action ‘A’, and response ‘B’ will always occur; hence I have a predictable, consistent relationship between what I do and the result I’m seeking. God’s grace is the antithesis of this, and it is imperative that it be that way! For, if God’s grace depended on anything we did, it wouldn’t be grace. It would be the natural response of a stimulus we provided. I’m not saying that his grace must be inconsistent; only that we have no grounds to complain when it is.
We’re far from the end of our journey to understand the paradigm shift that God’s grace brings to light. In the interim, I’d encourage you to leave a comment and convey your own “musings”. What do you think about all this? Remember, We’re just as open to views from those of you who disagree, as with those who agree! Scripture has a saying, which I believe contains wisdom…
“You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another”
Proverbs 27:17, The Message