“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.” – Matthew 20:1-2 (NLT)
While they were growing up, my two kids were very different about doing things we parent’s label as “CHORES”. My son, Kevin, was always diligent about getting them done. When it came to mowing the lawn, this dude was right on top of it. So much so that he kept on me about the upkeep of our lawn mower and making sure the gas mix was at the ready. If his mom asked to take out the trash and recyclables he did it without complaining…or at least out of our hearing range. My daughter, Karen, was the complete opposite of this. The dishwasher would be getting emptied right about the time dinner would be done and the wet laundry was making it to the dryer just before her mother pulled up from work. As time went by Kevin started to vocalize his dislike of Karen’s disregard of work ethic and felt that she should be dealt with if not withheld from in terms of reward. Then they both moved out, now I have to do those chores… C’est la vie
When we look into Matthew 20:1-16 we can see something along the same lines. Those guys that were already at the landowner’s house early made an arrangement for a day’s pay, then the landowner went out into the marketplace and recruited more workers along the way. By the end of the work day EVERYONE was getting the same pay and that didn’t sit too well with those guys who showed up at the crack of dawn. I am one of those guys who does show up at the crack of dawn to get to work so I can kinda feel for these early go-getters but we aren’t talking man’s economy here. The kind of economy that says you are worth more than everybody, oh no, on the contrary, we’re talking about God’s economy here and that economy is solely based on God’s grace…and the cost of discipleship.
If we were to look at the landowner as being God the Father and those early go-getters as folks who’ve been a Christian all their lives, we could see that they consider themselves qualified to be worthy of working the vineyard and therefore all the more-worthier to receive God’s grace. But the landowner goes out into the marketplace and gets workers up to the last possible hour of a working day. To me, that means everyone was worthy enough to work the landowner’s vineyard. “That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first.” (Matthew 20:8) After this it gets messy… “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.” – (Matthew 20:12)
Even though those early go-getters agreed to work the day for the same pay that those who worked the hour got they forgot who owns the vineyard. The way I see this story is Jesus is telling us that everyone is welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven. If you take a moment and consider the ones who the landowner encounters during the day we could say this illustrates how God the Father seeks us out to bring us into the Kingdom. Even down to the last-minute people can consider themselves worthy of God’s grace. With Jesus as His “foreman” grace is dispensed for all who follow Christ’s direction while working in the vineyard. “And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.” – (Romans 11:6)
I kinda gotta giggle at Simon Peter. In Matthew 19:27 he boldly makes this statement, “We’ve given up everything to follow You. What will we get?” Isn’t that what we think when we leave our sinful selves behind to follow Jesus? When I left all that I once behind I was glad to be rid of it but as my walk with Christ went along I kinda wanted more than what God was giving me because I thought it was about performance and duration. But as God continues to deal with me I have come to better realize the cost of discipleship and work on finding contentment in that realization. Oh, I will still show up at the crack of dawn to get the work done but I will be all the more-happier to see others showing up as the day goes along. How about you?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Daily Quote: “Peter was not promoting or predicting a cold and lifeless and formal spirituality in the Christian church when he advised believers to gird up the loins of their minds and be sober. He was saying to the early Christians as he hopes to say to us now: “Brethren, if ever there was an hour when we needed to be serious about our Christian faith, this is the hour! We need to be sober men—and spiritual men.” —A.W. Tozer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: