This school year has been exceptionally challenging for me. In reality, they are all challenging in their own way, but this year, I am teaching English language arts, a subject that I have zero experience teaching, and I have gotten WAY behind in what the kids are reading these days. So I have been reading lots of books. I just finished one last night titled Orbiting Jupiter, which is by Gary D Schmidt. It is about a family who lives in rural Maine, and who takes in a troubled teen as foster parents. This young 14 year old man, Joseph, has been in trouble with the law multiple times, and comes from an abusive home. So when he moves in with his foster family and starts attending the local school, he has a reputation that precedes him, and isn’t a pleasant reputation. Needless to say, most of the students and many of the staff members, the principal and assistant principal included, barely even give the kid a chance to be successful. They make the assumption that he will make all sorts of bad choices and that everyone should just stay away from him. He almost never had a chance to prove that deep down inside there really is a good person in there, just being suppressed by horrible experiences in his life prior to moving in with the foster family.
But there were people in this rural Maine town who did believe in him, and did give him a chance. And with their love and support, he slowly showed that he actually was a kind, caring, loving kid who had some anger issues penned up because his mother had died when he was young and his dad was abusive and an alcoholic, and his best friend and girlfriend tragically died. But his foster family and a few teachers at the school believed in his potential, and gave him a chance. And in the end, he proved to everyone who believed and who doubted that he had a good heart and just wanted to find something that was important to him that was taken from him.
There is a lot more than that, but I don’t want to give too much away in case anyone decides to pick the book up. Anyway, how does this relate to today’s passages? As I read the Zechariah chapters and the parable of the vineyard workers, it reminded me that God knows who we are deep down inside, our true character. And whether we have been there with him since the beginning, or if we are just becoming acquainted with him, or for those who have yet to turn to him, we all will be accepted the same. There won’t be a bigger reward for those who have been with Him since you were a young child than someone who turns to Him on their deathbed.
So continue to pray for everyone at this holiday season. Pray for those who have been with God their entire lives that they continue to live in His love, and pray also for those who have not yet discovered or believed, that they may find their way to Him so that they may also have the same reward in heaven.
Merry Christmas to all of you.