FOURTH IN MY TEACHING SERIES ON THE PARABLES OF JESUS
The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
Matthew 20:1-16 NLT
“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.”
Should you be jealous because I am kind to others? In that entire parable, that single statement hits me the hardest. I’m guilty of being that early-morning worker who can’t understand the unfairness of life.
“I’ve worked hard every day and done everything i was asked. Why did they get that promotion instead of me?”
“They didn’t even join the team until after the rest of us had been working out and lifting weights for two months. Why are they getting more playing time than me?”
“Those people are so pretentious about their Christianity. What we’re doing is actually changing lives through heart change. They’re just scratching the surface with people. And then they have great favor of the church and pastors. What’s up with that?
Maybe one of my personal confession above sounds a little like you. For some reason, we think that life should be without pain or loss, people should work hard for everything we get, and that circumstances should always be fair. It’s taken me a long time to admit that line of thinking in my life, and to accept first of all that I live in a broken world under satan’s dominion and his way of doing things. Second, I’ve become thankful that life isn’t fair.. Because if it was, I would have no means whatsoever to know Jesus, be forgiven and cleansed of my sins, and to anticipate an eternity with the Lord. Now let’s talk unfair.
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