Your Work For Our Lord

In Jesus' Parable where he speaks of the hiring of the laborers in the vineyard, Jesus has certainly upended conventional norms. All of the laborers receive the same pay at the end of the day whether they were hired at sunup or hired later in the day. And, by the way, they are each paid a normal day's working wage for a laborer of that day-- one denari, which was barely enough to feed a family.


Even today it is normal to pay partial wage or a partial days work. In the Parable all of the laborers get paid the same. Notice also that the first in line to be paid are the workers who worked the least amount of time during the workday. Getting less pay causes resentment in the folks who worked all day. Truly, Jesus is speaking to us about resentment and He wants us to know more about God's grace.


God is just and caring. Creator God who has given us His only begotten Son Jesus Christ may choose how to do whatever God wants to do. So why should we resent someone with a family, working less, and getting paid the same? The full days wage is barely enough to feed a family. If those folks who worked all day have bitterness toward those who worked partial day then how is the bitterness controlled within one's heart?


Resentment and bitterness finds itself within those who believe they have been treated unfairly. And to think that one has been treated unfairly begs the question: Do we believe Jesus when He tells us about our Heavenly Father who takes care of us? For in Jesus' Parable the landowner takes care of all the folks in his charge.


Bitterness and resentment cannot reside in the hearts of believers who know with certainty that Jesus has a firm grip on our lives and that all things are possible with Him.


“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.  After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage.  And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner,  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 the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you.  Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matthew 20:1-16

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Rev. Patricia E. Walker

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