We Have to Work for It

"We have to work for it" by Claire McGarry (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: By Alev Takil Unsplash.com, CC0/PD

“This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.” (Matthew 13:13)

My kids go in and out of phases of entitlement. When they’re in one, and they’re acting as if the world and I owe them something, the hammer comes down. That’s when I resume my, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” speech, and make them work for everything, including their meals and screen time.

Depending on how far off the tracks things have gotten, this “hammer time” method could go on for days. Eventually, they figure out that I’m not going to hand them anything on a silver platter, and they drop the entitlement attitude. Furthermore, they start appreciating everything more because they’ve invested themselves and have, in essence, earned their meals, screen time, and so on.

Parables were Jesus’ “hammer time.” He easily could have taught in straightforward directives about God and how God wants us to live. But He knew that handing us all that on a silver platter would have us in entitlement mode.

Instead, He taught through stories with meaning and messages. It becomes our responsibility to work through those parables.

No doubt, it is work sometimes: Searching out the meanings and how they relate to our own lives. But when we do, there’s a deep sense of satisfaction in having met the challenge. Moreover, if and when we apply those lessons, life smooths out, leading us to deep gratitude to Jesus for showing us how to live a better life.

Copyright 2019 Claire McGarry


About Author

Claire McGarry is the author of the Lenten devotional "With Our Savior," published by Creative Communications for the Family/Bayard, Inc. and All is Blessing: Finding God in the Tensions of Life, to be published by Our Sunday Visitor in the fall of 2021. Her freelance work has appeared in various Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Focus on the Family magazine, Catechist magazine, These Days devotional, and Keys for Kids devotional. The founder of MOSAIC of Faith, a ministry with several different programs for mothers and children, she blogs at Shifting My Perspective.

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