“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”

Psalm 5:3

Laborers in the Vineyard

(Please read Matthew 20:1-16)

May 17

Businessmen just don’t go out one hour before the workday is over, hire men to work for that hour and pay them as much as they pay those who have worked all day, so we may have some difficulty in interpreting this parable. But since there is no valid reason to reject it, we must accept the parable as teaching a real lesson, although the landowner is very unusual.

Jesus had just talked with a rich young ruler who was unwilling to do the one thing Jesus asked him to do – sell his possessions and give to the poor. So Jesus illustrated to the disciples the great value of eternal life as contrasted to material wealth. In brief, the parable seems to cast God as the landowner, Jesus as the foreman, the vineyard as the church, and the laborers who are hired as Christians.

Now, for a moment, imagine that a car dealer starts selling vehicles at a ridiculously low price but perhaps not the same low price to everyone. Say he charges $5.00 for a new four-door sedan, but some people come along and have to pay only $3.75, or $2.50. Should the people who paid $5.00 quibble because someone else gets a better price? Of course not, because none of these prices has any relationship to the worth of the item purchased.

Then here is a lesson: Whatever we do, however long or short our service to God, whatever sacrifice we make, the reward is so wonderfully great that the conditions for obtaining it must forever appear utterly insignificant. Today let’s thank the “Landowner” for employing us!


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