Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard

Listen to this morning's message.

Matthew 20:1-15

1 For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work.

3 At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. 4 So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. 5 So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing.

6 At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, "Why haven’t you been working today?"

7 They replied, "Because no one hired us."

The landowner told them, "Then go out and join the others in my vineyard."

8 That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. 9 When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. 10 When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. 11 When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, 12 "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."

13 He answered one of them, "Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? 14 Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. 15 Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?"

S - Scripture

10 When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage.

O - Observation

I have four observations:

1. The landowner didn’t hang up a sign and expect people to show up to work. The landowner sought out workers. He went and found them (verse 1).

Translation: God is a seeking God. He loves us so much that He relentlessly pursues us until He finds us.

2. The landowner needed more workers because there is always more than enough work to do in the vineyard (verses 3 to 6).

Translation: We live in a broken and needy world and God’s Kingdom is always in need of additional workers.

3. The vineyard is the best place to be. Who wants to be standing around on the street corner waiting for work (verse 3 - passion and purpose in life and verses 6 and 7 - self-esteem)?

Translation: Living in the Kingdom of God gives us purpose and passion for life. It also helps us to know we are loved and needed.

4. The landowner paid everybody at least what they deserved and gave most people a whole lot more than they deserved (verses 9 and 10)

Translation: God is both fair and generous. Fairness is called justice. Generosity is called grace.

A - Application

The application for me today is to invite more people into the vineyard (church) to serve alongside of the rest of us. So much work is still to be done!

Another application is to always be grateful that God gives grace and not justice. My payment when this life ends will not be based on what I did, but on what Jesus has done.

P - Prayer

God, sorry I showed up late and sorry for not being the best of workers. Thank you for your generosity to people like me. Help me be a faithful worker in your vineyard and help me invite others to take this journey with me. I'm thankful for your grace! Amen.

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