In the time of ancient Jews, vineyard was a source of livelihood (selling produce as a source of income or as food) for the family. It is an essential part of the agricultural economy. Likewise God encourages the ‘HAVES’ to share with the ‘HAVE NOTs’: the alien, widow and the fatherless. (Deu 24:21)
The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:16 NIV)
20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.
“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend.Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
The above scriptures is about a vineyard owner looking for someone to employ to work and earn money. They happily responded and faithfully carried out their duty. Here we see a scenario of an employer who needed the services of others to carry out probably their professional services which he may not have been able to carried out by himself or rather too enormous to do . It is a relationship of win-win situation. The relationship started off by agreement on the service required, price and the duration of the service. Nevertheless, due to the enormity of the task at hand and the urgency to get the job done on the day, the vineyard owner continuously going to the wayside calling out for somebody to employ at every interval of a period of time. Essentially, each group has what to expect at the end of the day. It was during payment of wages that every group got to know they were being paid the same sum of money. A decision that didn’t go well with early birders so to speak. The early birders who took off before others protested for being unfairly treated.
What can we learn from this parable
1.The vineyard owner is God
2.The vineyard is the Kingdom of God
3.The labourers were called to work (salvation and service)
4. They were paid at the end of the day
4.There is a promise of reward
5. Display of envy by the early starters.
THE VINEYARD OWNER IS GOD
The vineyard owner is the representation of God, showing an expression of His attitude and desires. GOD is daily looking for the unsaved to be saved. He is unrelenting in his call. He uses Holy Spirit, Angels, Men to bring people to his kingdom and whoever responded shall be saved. His call is for every tribe, tongues, and nations.
THE VINEYARD IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD
God calls the outsiders (sinners) to become the bona fide citizens of His Kingdom. If you are reading this post and you have not accepted His call to become one of His Children, this is another opportunity to do so. From the parable, every one that responded was employed and taken care of. Likewise, if you will surrender your life to Him today, He will gladly welcome you.
LABOURERS WERE CALLED TO WORK (SALVATION, AND SERVICE)
The labourers were called for only one thing- work . They are working for the master. They were ready for whatever the master would have them do.
Are you a believer? Since the time you have committed your life to Christ, what services have you RENDERED? Do you make yourself available for master’s use? God’s interest is to see people saved. And since you have become citizens of His Kingdom, do you join the master in spreading the message of the kingdom? the message of salvation to others? What are you doing to promote and advance the kingdom of God? He called people to work not be idle or play around. You are called to serve the Lord with all your heart and mind, to be diligent to the work of the Lord.
THEY WERE PAID AT THE END OF THE DAY
This is the area we must all be careful and take seriously. We can understand from the parable that the payment was made after the day. It then means that for any of the labourers to be qualified for any payment they have to work till the end of the day. Little wonder the Bible says only those that finished their spiritual race to the end shall be saved. I like to think that the landowner used this as a big factor. Considering the fact that they didn’t all started at the same time. To him, to finish well is what that matters. I remember during my time in higher institution, whilst few of us were very committed to the campus church fellowship, some of my course mates would not give a hoot. A few of them even make a fun of us. But to the glory of God, many of them are now very committed to serving God. Imagined if someone like me has backslid. My commitment of the past would have been a waste. Be committed to God and serve Him to the end.
THERE IS A PROMISE OF REWARD
Like the vineyard owner who paid all workers, their full wages, God is also a rewarder of those diligently labour and serve in the Kingdom. His judgement is just. He will pay everyone according to their labour. Because whatever a man sow he would reap. God rewards us in this world and the world to come. Your diligence to serve God and people according to His will, will not go unnoticed, and shall never be in vain. So, live your life to please Him, by following His purpose and ways. You shall be blessed spiritually, physically, financially, emotionally and intellectually. Above all, the crowns of reward are waiting for you in heaven. My prayer for you is that you will not miss it in Jesus name.
DISPLAY OF ENVY BY THE EARLY STARTERS
The protest of this group of people is that, the landowner was too generous and unfair to pay them the same amount with the others who started late. They couldn’t get their heads around with why others should be blessed like them. They see themselves more qualified. As believers, envy and jealousy should not be mentioned among us. It is God who gives freely to whom He chooses. Of course, all the workers worked for their reward, but for us, regardless of our efforts and services in the Kingdom of God, everything is still down to the grace of God. We must learn to appreciate the grace of God upon each other instead of seeing ourselves more righteous, holier and religious than others. Thereby creating an envious spirit of merit-mentality. Our works are good, but everything still down to the grace of God. It is not of works, so that no one can boast. We are what we are by the grace of God. Celebrate that brother who just bought a car ! Celebrate that sister who just got her dream job. That is the spirit of the kingdom of God. Let us keep celebrating one another !
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