May 20 - Vineyard Workers

Monday, May 20, 2013

Matthew 20:1-16

In this parable, Jesus tells us the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who hired workers for his vineyard. In the early morning, he hired a group of workers who agreed to work for a specific wage.  Several more times throughout the day, he hired different laborers to work in the vineyard, telling them all that he would give them a fair wage.  When evening came, he asked his foreman to bring the laborers in and pay them, beginning with those who were hired last.  He paid each man the exact same wage. When those who were hired earlier in the day saw that the wage was the same no matter how many hours had been worked, they grumbled; accusing the master of being unfair.  His response was simply to tell them that he had paid them exactly what they had agreed upon and that it is his vineyard and his money and he can be generous with whomever he wishes.

For many of us, we tend to align ourselves with the first workers, seeing only the unfairness of the whole deal.  We believe in working for a living and because we have worked so hard, we should receive more; it’s what the American dream is based on … work hard, achieve more.

As nice as that sounds; it isn't reality for the largest portion of humanity and it is absolutely not the reality in the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus final words in this passage are; “So the last will be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16).

The story really wasn't about the workers who arrived early in the morning and worked throughout the day; it was about the generosity of the master of the vineyard.  God’s love is available to each of us, no matter when or where or how we choose to come to him.  One of my grandfathers had lived a wild life filled with every vice you could imagine, but when he asked my mother to pray with him and the two of them wept over his lost life, that meant the same to God as the day I chose to walk to the altar at the age of thirteen.  I won’t receive a better seat at the viewing of the last days than my grandfather; we will both be welcomed equally by God.

His generosity is overwhelming and His love for us greater still than that. Choose life today.