Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella is inspired by a voice he can’t ignore to pursue a dream he can hardly believe. The promise is, “If you build it, he will come.” Ray goes against all common sense and risks placing his family in extreme financial jeopardy. With the support of his wife, Ray begins the backbreaking work of turning his ordinary cornfield into a place where dreams can come true.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. Matthew 20:1-2
Seeking clarity on the meaning and the purpose for this foolhardy venture, Ray “kidnaps” a reclusive writer for advice and brings him to Iowa. Once Ray’s cornfield has been transformed into a baseball field, it begins to happen. Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago White Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series, show up to play ball. One evening after a game, Shoeless Joe invites the writer to join them “in the corn.” Ray is outraged that the writer is invited and not him . . . after all he built the field . . . he took all of the risk!
Ray Kinsella: I did it all. I listened to the voices, I did what they told me, and not once did I ask what’s in it for me.
Shoeless Joe Jackson: What are you saying, Ray?
Ray Kinsella: I’m saying, what’s in it for me?
And on receiving their pay they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” “But,” he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? . . . Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” Matthew 20:11-13,15
Jesus is teaching us an invaluable lesson. In whatever service God calls us, our focus should never be “what’s in it for me?” If our heart is filled with false expectations, prideful entitlements, comparisons with others—reward becomes our motivation. All of these things are in opposition to Jesus’ teaching of “if you want to be great in God’s Kingdom, be the servant of all.” Don’t be looking ahead for a reward, keep your eyes on the Rewarder. Appreciate what you have in the now and the purposeful work you’re called to. And enjoy the ride!
We just don’t recognize life’s most significant moments while they’re happening. Back then I thought, “Well, there’ll be other days.” I didn’t realize that that was the only day. —Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham, professional baseball player
This is a very thought provoking post for the Master Media Intl. team, and convicting for some who has served in ministry for more than 40 years. Do I have expectations, look for rewards or even a sense that God owes me. I got to help build the field, but may not get to play on it or get the press notoriety of some others?
Is enjoying the journey sufficient? It hasn’t always been.