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.
Food For Thought:
The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard is a parable of Jesus that only appears in the Gospel of Matthew. This parable has perplexed readers and hearers for centuries. What does this passage tell us about the nature of humans? What does this passage tell us about the nature of God? What does this passage tell us about the relationship between God and human beings? This passage can reveal a great deal about us that we may not want to hear. When I read this passage, I think of the child’s tendency to say, “It’s not fair.” Maybe it’s because I have two young daughters and that is a constant phrase in our household. It’s not fair, I had that toy first. It’s not fair; she got a little more food than I did. It’s not fair that I’m being treated that way. What is interesting is that as I have become an adult, I’ve realized that we adults like to make that statement, too. It’s not fair that person who did very little work, got all the credit. It’s not fair, that they got a bigger pay bump than I did. It’s not fair that they lucked into the job that they have. Then I think about what God would want us to know. Life isn’t always fair. We don’t deserve to live an easy life. We don’t need to be constantly thinking the grass is always greener on the other side. Be happy for what you have. You can find good in every situation. You are blessed, so learn how to be appreciative of that. Today, I want you to take time to pause for a moment and think about some of your biggest complaints and find a way to lay them aside and give them over to God.
God of miracles and of mercy, all creation sings your praise. Like the vineyard owner, your grace is extravagant and unexpected. Lead us to repentance and the acceptance of your grace, that we may witness to your love, which embraces both those we call friend and those we call stranger. In your precious name we pray, Amen.