Matthew 20:1-5a - [Jesus said] "For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, 'You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. ..."
When I was young and looking for summer jobs, the managers would often ask me, "How much money do you want?" Remembering this parable, I would answer them, "Give me whatever you think is right." They were always fair and just.
Now, as an adult, I think that might be a risky way of negotiating a salary. Not everyone is fair and just! But God is—and better than that, He is generous.
Look at these workers, the ones who come in the middle of the day. They don't stop to argue with the master about their wages. They know they are lucky to get a job so late at all. And so they go into the vineyards—and they're agreeably surprised at the end of the day, when they make the same money as the people who got hired first. They probably wondered what got into the master, to make him so illogical! But they weren't about to argue with him. They took their gift wages and were happy.
The same is true for us, isn't it? We have come to Jesus as laborers in His vineyard. Some of us came early, baptized in infancy. Some came very late, first believing in our sixties or seventies—or even on our deathbeds. No matter. Jesus gives His gift of life, salvation, and forgiveness to all His people. He is generous. And His generosity is our salvation.
Jesus calls us to Him whenever He sees us standing idle—unemployed, unclaimed, unredeemed. He makes us His own through His death on the cross for us. He puts His own resurrection life inside us, to go out and care for other people as He has cared for us. And when we come at last into His kingdom, we will receive our gift-wages—not what we have deserved, but what He has deserved, and given to us freely as a gift of love.
What a wonderful Lord!
WE PRAY: Dear Jesus, send me out into Your vineyard, and use me however You see best. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. How do you think the late-hired workers felt about the master in the future?
2. Do you think he had any difficulty hiring workers from that point on?
3. Would you be happy to see everyone get the full measure of God's generosity? Or would there be a stab of jealousy in there for you? Why or why not?
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