Monday, October 29, 2012
“But many who are first will be last, and the last first. 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.’ And 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, and whatever is right you will receive.’ 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 murmured against the landlord, 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 19:30 – 20:16).
IDEA: Service in the vineyard is reward in itself.
PURPOSE: To help listeners see service for Christ, not as a duty, but a reward.
Have you ever been out of work?
Have you ever known other people who have been out of work looking for a job? What is it like?
Listen to one of the perplexing parables that Jesus told. It is found in Matthew 20:1-16. As you listen, think about those men standing in the town square waiting to be hired.
I. Think of those men standing in the marketplace just before sundown. What do you. know about them?
They were idle.
But they were not the “idle rich,” but the idle poor. Unemployment was high in the country, and these men were part of the statistics.
Why were they out of work?
“Because no one would hire us.” That’s a pathetic line. What does that feel like?
It’s tougher to stand in an unemployment line than in an assembly line.
People who get out of bed in the morning, who have work to do, ought to thank God for their job. It is terrifying when a society can’t provide a person with a job with which to support his or her family.
II. Why do you think that detail is in the story?
Jesus comes to the idle, the unemployed, and the lost and offers them meaningful work to do in His vineyard.
That work in itself is a reward
Think about retired people. What makes retirement fulfilling for them?
There is fulfillment in working for the Lord of the vineyard. In His work we have a relationship with Him and His harvest. The people to be pitied are not the workers in His vineyard. It is the idlers in the marketplace of the world.
Compare Peter with the rich young businessman in the context of the parable. Whose life was better spent?
Would anyone seriously suggest that Peter would have been better off if he had stayed in the fish business with his boat and had become a fishing tycoon in the Galilee?