I am no gardener. I kill plants, I hate weeding, I forget to water. In so many ways I simply do not have the dedication necessary to grow great plants. I simply do not pay attention to the needs a plant has in order to thrive. In a way, the real challenge for me is that growing plants is simply not an activity that is important enough for me to care about it. While I can appreciate the final product when plants are grown, I would much rather have the final results, such as the fruit, vegetable or beautiful flower instead of putting in the hard work.
But if I engage in the hard work, and someone else comes in and gets the benefit that comes from hard work before I do, I am quite upset. After all, I put in the hard work. Shouldn’t I get the rewards of my labor?
If the only thing to worry about was my labor, it would be easy to see that, of course, I get the rewards of my labor. But it is not just my effort matters. Despite the hard work of weeding, watering and caring for plants, I cannot on my own claim all of the credit for successful plants. I did not make the sun. I did not know how to use the water. I did not do much of anything at all when compared to what the plant does because it is perfectly made.
In a way, our spiritual life is just like that. We can be tempted to think that it all depends upon us, our efforts and our energy. But that is not true. It depends upon much more than us. We all stand completely dependent upon God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness and love in order to be saved.
And so when God calls, and others slide in after us, we have no reason to be angry. When we turned our lives over to God, it was not so that others would not be saved. No, it was because we knew we must be saved, just like those who came before and will come after us. We all need salvation. And, because none of us earned even a little of our salvation, we have no reason to gripe.