The parable of the workers in the vineyard Matthew 20 :1-16, is told by Jesus to the crowds who are gathering to hear Him speak. As explained in a previous post about where Jesus was the week before Easter, Jesus used parables or stories to speak to His followers in ways they could easily understand.
So Jesus tells this parable and He likens the kingdom of heaven, or God, to the wealthy landowner of the story. To read this parable for yourself go here to Matthew 20:1-16. But let’s break it down.
The wealthy landowner hires some men to work in his fields. The first group of men start early in the morning and he tells them he will pay them a denarius for the days work. They are very happy. This is a good wage.
Later in the day the landowner hires more men to work his fields. Throughout the day he hires three more groups, the fourth only working the last hour of the day before sunset.
At the end of the day the men line up to be paid and the first group, who have worked all day, get paid the same amount as the last group, who only worked for an hour.
The men from the first group start to grumble and moan. How can that be fair? They worked hard all day and surely they deserved to be paid more?
But the wealthy landowner replies “I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?”
God wants us all to have eternal life!
Gods economy of Grace is not what people expect. It does not follow the natural order of how things work here on earth. God is generous and merciful and He rewards those who love Him.
The Bible says in John 3:16 that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. That is God’s promise to us.
No matter your age, social standing, or race, no matter whether you have loved the Lord God all your life or only come to him in your later years, Gods grace is extended to you.
Simply accepting Jesus as your saviour means that you will receive eternal life through His grace.
When we were first married, hubby and I attended a church with a dynamic pastor who did some amazing work with the aged and the sick. When we moved to Australia I used to go on and watch his podcasts all the time. It felt like I had access to a little piece of home.
Anyway, in one of his podcasts he was talking about a palliative care facility that the church had built for Aids suffers. Aids is a very real disease in South Africa and with so many living in poverty this ministry is crucial.
He talked about providing these people with love and care and a semblance of dignity in their last days and I remember feeling overwhelmed with emotion at some of the stories he shared.
However, the sentence that stood out for me the most was when he said something along these lines…
“When the time comes for these men and women to leave this earth we are there to comfort them, to hold their hands and to simply sit alongside them. But the most rewarding thing of all for us, is when they choose life! When they accept Jesus Christ as Lord and in those last moments we quietly sneak them in to heaven!”
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve worked all day or only for the last hour, like in Matthew 20, God still wants you to have your denarius. Whether you’ve served faithfully all your life or you’ve been snuck in quietly at your last breath – God loves you and he wants to give you eternal life. He WANTS to give it to you!
He wants to give it to YOU!
Oh how merciful and gracious is our God!
I also love that Jesus was so determined to make this knowledge available to everybody that he used parables. He made certain that even the lowly would be able to understand and remember. That everybody would be able to take this good news back to their families and villages. And that the story would be passed from generation to generation and available for you and I to read and understand today.