I love fall. It’s my absolute favorite time of the year.
The air begins to cool. The colors become vibrant.
It’s harvest time.
All of these wonderful things are coming right around the corner.
Before I continue off on a daydream tangent, let me get to the point.
As I sit outside and enjoy the improving weather, for some reason I am reminded of one of Jesus’ parables found only in Matthew. The parable of the workers in the vineyard.
Matthew 20:1-16 (ESV)
“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. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 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?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 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.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius.”
“Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 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.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”
Let’s just start here: God is the employer in this parable.
His generosity transcends all of our thoughts and ideas on what “fair” means.
There have been plenty of times, whether I like admitting it or not, that I find myself sympathizing with the first workers. Not necessarily on concepts like ultimate reward, but on some of the little things in life. It takes me being deliberate, and purposefully changing my thoughts and motives to be less selfish in the way I view the world around me.
The first will be last, and the last will be first. What?
It’s a tough concept to grasp, or to even want to accept at times. God does not have a firm standard of compensation for services in which we engage. None of us can claim: “Well, I did this, this, and this, so I will get that from God.” Our works are an outpouring of our faith and beliefs, not a checklist for future glory.
Grace transcends our understanding.
No one receives less than they deserve, but everyone receives MORE than they deserve!
God’s grace to those we think don’t deserve it, should be a cause for joy, not jealously.
Whether you’ve been a Christian for a long time, a new Christian, or even someone interested but still unsure about it all, remember it’s not so much about how long or how hard you’ve been working; it’s about your attitude along the way and who you’re working for: Jesus.
Go love on some people who “don’t deserve it”, but need it regardless.