READ: Matthew 20:1-16
- This is another “the kingdom is like” example. However, this story is much more elaborate. There is a bigger cast and a longer story line. But, like all parables, there is a twist. It’s that twist that calls attention to the point being made. In this particular story, a vineyard owner hires workers for his vineyards. It’s the kind of common day laborer situation Jesus’ listeners would know all about.
- He offered to pay a denarius for their labors. That, too, was understandable. A denarius was typical pay for a day’s work. While it was not much, it was the average a worker could expect and to get work was a privilege. There is little surprise in that the owner kept adding workers throughout the day. He promised them only “whatever is right.” He did so all the way up to the end of the day, sending the final group out with but an hour to go.
- The surprise isn’t even the attitude of the workers. That’s almost predictable. They grumble that all received the same wages, even those who worked but only an hour. The surprise (and thus the point) is the owner’s decision to give everyone the same wage. Jesus tells us, that’s the nature of the Kingdom. There are not varying degrees of being “in.” You are either in or out, and it doesn’t matter when you come. All are treated the same. The word for that is, “grace.”
- How would you have felt if you were one who went out late in the day and got a full day’s pay?
- What if you were one of the first groups hired?
- How is this an expression of grace?
PRAY: Thank God for His grace. Commit to being thankful for that grace no matter whom else receives it. Pray that we greet our guests with hospitality as we gather for worship on Sunday.