The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard!!!
For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ “So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received it,they complained against the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”……. Matthew 20:1-16
In our previous studies, We were considering how Jesus answered Peter’s question after the Rich Young Ruler had left. And Jesus had said it is difficult for the Rich to enter the Kingdom of God. And Peter was comparing Himself with that Rich Young Ruler and felt He was superior and had said, “Lord we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?”. And Jesus told them that He did appreciated them. But He noted that the First will be Last if we don’t change that attitude of” What shall I get?” Here Jesus tells a Parable to show how the First can become Last. The question in this parable is, “Are You serving for Reward or Are You serving out of Love?”
For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard: God is the Landowner who went out the the Morning seeking for Labourers in His Vineyard. It is the Lord’s will that everyone of Us become is Servant early in our Lives. He Seeks for us to be Labourers with Him in gathering the Souls of Men into the Kingdom. He is the one who takes the first step towards us to employ us for His service. The devil, by his temptations, is hiring labourers into his field, to feed swine. God, by his gospel, is hiring labourers into his vineyard, to dress it, and keep it, paradise-work. If we will not Serve the Lord, then we will serve the Devil. If we will not become Labourers with the Lord, We will definitely Labour for the Devil. There is no neutral position here. We are either hired by God or hired by the Devil. Choose therefore this day whom You will Serve(Joshua 24:15)!!!
Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.: The work started by 6am in the Morning. And please notice, He made an Agreement with the first group of Labourers. There was a bargain between them. They were willing to work in the Vineyard based on the amount He offered to pay to them. He agreed to pay them One denarius which was a Full day wage.
And He went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. : The Landowner went out again at 9am and He saw other standing idle in the Marketplace. Those who are not called into service for the Lord are idle. Sinners are idle in the purpose of God. Whatever they seems to be doing has no value for kingdom purpose. Those who will become partakers of the Kingdom of Heaven must be busy and diligent. Indeed an idle mind is the Devil’s workshop. The Lord goes out again and again seeking for whom to call into service. There is more enough space in the Vineyard for more labourers. If You will not agree with Him in at 6am, He never gives up on you. He will call unto You again at 9am hoping You will respond this time. Notice again that He promised to give this group of people something also in return for their service. So this Group of Labourers are also Expecting Something as reward at the end of the Day.
Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise: Again, the Landowner went seeking for Labourers at 12 noon and 3 pm. And He did likewise. Which means He either made an agreement with them or they bargained for one denarius each. So also notice that this Third and fourth group of Labourers also worked expecting a Reward.
And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us. He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ : Finally, Just one hour more for the work, He went out again and saw another group idle. Even the Lord is interested in people who have spent 80% of their lives doing nothing. Those who have spent lot of years serving the Devil, the Lord still goes out seeking for them. So He sent them into the Vineyard but NOTICE, that No agreement was made between them. There was no promise of reward for this group. The first Four groups worked with a promise of getting a reward but the Last group just went without any bargain or any agreement. It is very important to note this because this is how the First becomes Last and the Last becomes First.
“So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius.: Finally when they were to be paid, the Last group that were called into the Vineyard at 5pm got one denarius. They must have been surprised to get a full day wages. They got 12 times of what they deserved. One denarius is the wage for 12 hours, they worked one hour and they got 12 hours pay. They must have been very grateful for the generosity of the the Landowner and return home with Joy.
But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received it,they complained against the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’: When the First group came, they thought, “Wow!!!, this Man is very kind. We will get 12 denarius. If He gave those that worked just one hour one denarius, then He will definitely give those who worked for 12 hours 12 denarius. And to their greatest shock and surprise, they also got one denarius each. And they grumbled and complained at this. All their problem started from Comparison. When we begin to compare ourselves with others and wonder why God has done something for them and has not done the same for us. They must have went and check up how much others got. Whenever we are upset that God has made someone who just repented equal to us. When we begin to think that we are senior workers of God who have borne the heat of the sun while others are not around we begin to have problems. There is a lot of this in Christian churches today. There are People who think they are senior workers and therefore deserves greater Honour, respect and reward than others who came later.
What is the point of this parable? Who is going to be the first in the final day? The first are going to be those who serve the Lord without any Hope of Rewards. Those who did not serve for a pay. Those who did not serve for the benefits they could get from serving Him.
There are two categories of People serving the Lord today. First, those who work because they get paid for it or want some Honour or position or even a reward in Heaven. While there are others who say, “Lord we will serve You even if we get nothing out of it. We are not expecting a gift or thank You from anyone. We will struggle and even starve if there is a need for it”. These are two completely different categories of people!!! For Example, those who are told by preachers that if they sow a seed of money or pay their tithes to God, God will bless them and make them prosperous in their works are not serving the Lord, instead they are only doing business with God. Such people will be Last in the Kingdom of Heaven. Whereas, those who say, “Lord I don’t want anything in return, You have already done enough for me on the Cross. Why should I expect anything more than that? I just want to serve You using my whole life to show my gratitude to You”. They are like the people who came at the 11th Hour and serve without any hope of reward. They will be First in the Kingdom of Heaven.
There is a principle here for all of Us. Not only those who are in full time work buy for all who are born again Christian. You need to ask Yourself, “Do I expect the Lord to do something for Me because of what I have done for Him?” This is exactly the attitude of the Elder Brother in the story of the prodigal Son. He said to His father,” Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends and He became angry(Luke 15:29)” Some times we expect the Lord to bless us in some ways and answer our prayers because we have served Him Faithfully. The best way to serve the Lord is to expect nothing in return. It is this attitude of “What shall I get?” that makes all our service for the Lord becomes dead works. If you serve without expecting a Reward, You will never have complains against the Lord as many Christians do. When you come to the Lord in prayer, do you inwardly think, “Well, I have served the Lord Faithfully for many years, surely the Lord will do this for Me”. In such a Case, You are not coming in Jesus name but in your own name. That means you are not coming in the merit of Jesus Christ but in your own merit because you have served the Lord for 40years and therefore He should do something for you. And this is why your Christian life is so shallow. This is the difference between the Old Covenant and the new Covenant. Old Covenant says, “If you do this, I will do that for You, If you obey Me, I will make You great, you will be the head and not the tail(Deuteronomy 28)”.But the new Covenant says,” If you Love Me, Keep my Commandments(John 14:15)”. All our services for the Lord must flow out of Love and not out of Reward or fear of being Punished.
’ But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’: Behold the gracious words of God. Although they had complaints against Him, yet He calls them friend. Just like the Father came out begging the Elder Brother in the Prodigal Son story to come in and rejoice with His Brother(Luke 15:28). There is no unrighteousness with God!! Whatever He gives to others that He has not given to us should not be an offense to us. He is doing us no wrong!!! You got what You bargained for. Those who did business with the Lord will be surprised when they stand before the Lord that, they got exactly what they bargained for. When they could have waited patiently on the generosity of God to bless them as He pleases. God is generous to those who serve Him out of Love and not for reward. The Lord can go whatever He Likes with His Glory and Mercies. When we begin to compare what the Lord has given to us with what He has given to others, we have an Evil eyes. When we have complaints against God because He has answered someone’s prayer and has not answered ours, then our eyes have become Evil.
So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.: So Jesus ended the Parable with what He told Peter when He asked, “What shall we get from following You?” Those who expect nothing from the Lord will be the First on that day. But those who are expecting Reward will be last on that day. Even if you are the first and people have seen you Work for God the whole day, the attitude of “What shall I get?” will make you the Last in God’s Kingdom. Many indeed are called into the service of the Lord but only the few who have served out of Love expecting no reward will be chosen to be first. When the Lord appears in Glory, He will reveal the motives by which we serve the Lord whether it is for a reward, fame, name, Honour or out of Love. And then everyone of Us will receive our Praise from God(1 Corinthians 4:5).
Also this is a Message of Hope to those who have wasted lot of their years living for themselves and the Devil. If You respond to God even at the Last hour, He can make You equal with those who have been faithful from their Childhood. Incredible indeed!!! But You don’t have to wait until You are old and about to Die. Remember those who plan to repent at 5pm usually dies by 4pm. Now is the time to repent!!! Now is the day of salvation!!!
Dear Friend, Do you want to reach the highest Christian Experience? Then come to the Lord expecting NOTHING. Say to the Lord, “What I deserve is Hell. That is really what I deserve!!! But You have given Me everything far better than what I deserved. So who am I to ask for something More?” If You have this attitude, You will never have any complaints against God even if He never gives You a Job, a Child, a House, a Car and Yet He gave others. The reason why You have complains is because You think You deserve Something for Your faithfulness. May the Lord give us Grace to Serve Him out of Love expecting NOTHING(Amen). God bless you. Have a blessed day.
#Everyday with Jesus.