Many years ago I was fuming over the latest cable bill increase and decided to call and see if I could negotiate a decrease. I mused after being on hold for the usual 30 minutes when the broken English speaking helper started the speech,
Hello AveerAge Jeom this Bob, tank you for being a loyal customer of ours for, let’s see, 4 years, how can help you today?
Me – Well Bob, I have been a loyal customer of yours for 4 years and I see on my latest bill that for the 3rd year in a row you are increasing my cable fees again without giving me a single new feature with that price increase. I’d like to see what can be done to get that cost reduced?
Long conversation later, Bob proceeded to tell me about several promos they had going and when all was said and I signed up for a new package not only reducing the overall total bill, but also adding several feature channels.
From that day forward I learned the art of negotiation. Everything is negotiable, especially if you have remained loyal.
The past few years because we have stayed very loyal to various entities the negotiations have gone mostly well.
- The annual renewal rate on our Visa card was erased completely, for the xxth year in row.
- One time we were late on a credit card payment due to the bill not showing up in the mailbox. With a phone call, because we always, always, pay the bill in full, they waived the late fee and all interest charges.
- Our home security firm raised rates by 50%. Because we have used the same firm I called and asked for a lower rate. Although it took threatening to completely disconnect the service, they ultimately not only took away the increase, they actually took us to a rate lower than it was 7 years ago.
- Our phone rates, consumer reports subscription, a couple of doctor and dentist bills were all negotiated down, with simple phone calls or even via email requests.
Some did not go as well. We recently switched auto/home insurance companies after finding out that the insurance policy we had was not in good hands as advertised. (ouch I vowed not to use this blog as vengeance place, but sorry, Allstate is horrible). Our loyalty to them however produced significant lower options with other Carriers.
I did have a credit card company three years ago say no to waiving the annual credit card fee.. They stated their policy was to not show favoritism to clients. I used my favorite line in return, which is, ‘my policy is if you cannot reward my loyalty to your firm than you will lose my business’. The reply was sorry. To which I replied then cancel the card please. End of negotiation.
Why sometimes negotiations with a solid case go well and sometime they don’t is puzzling to me. You’d think if you always did the right thing, it would work out in our favor, fair is fair right?
So it would seem the Bible would have stories of total fairness correct? This thought process led me to ponder one of the most puzzling parables told.
Parable of the Vineyard Workers – Mathew 20
“For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work.
“At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing.
“At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’ “They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’“The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’
“That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’
“He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’
“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”
This just doesn’t seem right, does it?
I have always been taught that the hardest workers should get paid what they earn. The harder you work, the more you deserve, right?. The point that Jesus was making though was when it comes to earning a ticket into God’s Kingdom, the amount of work is not the measurement. Because God is all loving, He is all giving, equally across the board, regardless of loyalty. And He made the reward a non-works related system.
Just like it angered the workers who put in a whole days work, so did it anger the religious leaders 2000 years ago to the point where they had Jesus put to death because of His teaching. But little did they realize that by putting Him to death it created a perfect sacrifice providing a free ticket to heaven for anyone who accepted His gift. I have covered this topic before in my bio, if you have not read it click on my About Page.
I get it for the them, but what about for me, average joe christian?
This is one sometimes in those low moments when I struggle too. It’s confusing to see that this parable is also for the believer. Sometimes I struggle with why does God put this person ahead of me? I have put in way more time than they have. Why is this person on stage and I am not? Why does that guy have an easier life? Why does he or she make more money than me? Why do they get all the breaks when I faithfully drop money in the basket every week? Why are their kids so perfect? Why is their church bigger and better than ours? Why do I have to work so many hours when some seem to do nothing but have more than I do? Why when I’m the one that has been more loyal, more faithful, more consistent, than so and so, am I not getting showered with blessings?
I’m going to answer the questions with questions I ask myself when those jealous or woe is me moments come – Is this parable for you? Is your relationship status with God based on what you are doing or have done?
Or does God just want to have a great relationship with you, and you with He,
and as a result of that closeness you have with Him,
and after seeing and feeling His love towards you,
it causes you to want to thankfully pass on that overflowing love to other people,
with no expectation of anything in return,
since you already have all that you really need?