Lucas, my older son, spent some time in management with a large grocery chain. He often laments the workers he has to deal with, who have no sense of responsibility, showing up late or not at all, who never anticipate needs, never see what needs doing on their own, or who simply lollygag around with no sense of urgency or efficiency. The saddest ones, he says, are the young ones who really want to do a good job, but whose parents have never taught them how, either by assigning chores, or actually expecting them to be done well and on time. The ones who irritate him the most are the ones who think showing up and clocking in means they are working, even if all they do is stand in the halls and talk.
God has called us to work in his vineyard. I am sure he is patient with those who need to learn how to work. But some treat their job in the vineyard as an entitlement that precludes any notion of actual labor. As long as they clock in (submit in baptism, show up on Sunday morning—choose your application), they are “earning” their paycheck. We have forgotten that the only “wages” we can earn is death. Eternal life is a precious gift, and how we work in the vineyard is directly proportionate to our gratitude for it. Am I standing in the halls talking, or am I wearing myself out laboring for the Lord?
Let us therefore labor to enter in that rest, that no man fall after the same example of disobedience. Heb 4:11