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MATTHEW 20 (ESV)
1 “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. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ 5 So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 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.’13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”
- This story troubles many. It seems obvious that the owner of the vineyard wasn’t being fair. Jesus is saying that some people want to put relationship with God on an equal-work-equal-pay basis. And these folks often assume they’ll be rewarded for being so busy.
- Relationship with God, in fact, is based on His generosity (v15), His grace, not our works. We don’t advance spiritually by being busy.
- Are you becoming so caught up in doing things for God that you forget to simply love Him? Do you forget to stop, listen to people, and try to respond to their needs? Are you actually drying up spiritually but still spending your energies in an unproductive way? What is God telling you?
My Lord, my God, please grant me a humble heart, not to compete with others, but to thank the Lord for the grace I have received. Instead of looking at what I don’t have, learn to appreciate what I already have. Lord, You have especially shown us that the rewards You give us are not based on the length of our work, the weight of our burdens, or the gifts given to us, but entirely on our faithfulness. All this is by Your grace. Lord, I am willing to be Your faithful servant, fulfilling my duties in every ministry, big or small, and fulfilling the mission You have entrusted to me. Amen!
My Jesus I Love Thee – youtu.be/RzIJfsSDvAU