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Summary: There is no way to be a Humble Grumbler!

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Sitting in the Grumble Seat

Matthew 20:1-16

One of the most generous employers in the world and in history is Bob Thompson, the owner of an asphalt paving company for 40 years. Thompson struck it rich when he sold his company for $400 million, but he gave $128 million away to the hundreds of workers who had helped make it all possible. 77 employees became millionaires overnight and hundreds of other employees received bonuses worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Bob and his wife, Ellen, started the company, Thompson-McCully, with only a small savings of $3,500. The Thompsons were not interested in giving all the proceeds of the sale to their three children. Bob feels that it’s not beneficial to give a great deal of money to a young person and he wants to encourage his kids to maintain a strong work ethic.

After much debate about how to divide the money, the Thompsons settled on a plan. The 550 people who had retirement packages would get $2,000 for every season of their employment history with the company. And the 77 people who didn’t have retirement packages were instant millionaires - they would each get $1 million to $2 million. However, the Thompsons stipulated that only those who had reached retirement age would get the money outright. Younger staff members were given an annuity preventing them from receiving the money before they retire. On top of that, their taxes were paid. (ABCNEWS.com 12/10/99 “Owner Sells Company and Shares Profits With Employees”)

Matthew 20:1-16

1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard.

2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

3 "About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.

4 He told them, ’You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’

5 So they went. "He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing.

6 About 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.’

8 "When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ’Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

9 "The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius.

10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius.

11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner.

12 ’These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ’and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13 "But he answered one of them, ’Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?

14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you.

15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 "So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

(NIV)

How to Spot a Grumbler :

If you don’t know whether this applies to you, here are three marks of a Grumbler.

First, a grumbler is never satisfied.

If it’s money, he never has enough. If it’s his home, somebody else has a nicer one. If it’s his grades in school, an A- is a disappointment. He is an expert in criticism and a Ph.D. in nitpicking. Nothing is ever really enough.

Second, he always has an excuse.

Ask him why he doesn’t buy a new car and he says the interest rates are too high. Ask him again and he says they cost too much. Ask him again and he says new cars are a rip-off. Ask him why he doesn’t buy a used car and he says you’re just buying somebody else’s problems. Ask him why he doesn’t fix up the car he has and he says you don’t throw good money after bad.

Third, The Grumbler overestimates his own importance.

The earliest workers did not complain against the 9 a.m., 12 noon, or 3 p.m. workers but only one group: the last to arrive, the first to leave, the single hour performer. In their mind, they thought they should receive more compensation, a sizable bonus, or an attractive package. The pride of working hard for the money, giving value for the buck, and subtracting from the unemployment figures were lost to the workers who were previously unemployed and out on the streets. After all, didn’t they bear the burden and brave the heat? They were hardened perfectionists, professionals, and performers. They did not complain about not having enough, but not having more. The disgruntled group confused their personal worth with comparative or relative worth to others.

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