Scripture reference – Matt 20: 1-16
In this passage of scripture Jesus tells the story of the owner of a vineyard who hires laborers throughout the day to work in his vineyard. At the end of the day all the laborers receive the same pay and it causes anger and frustration.
I believe the story encourages us to be kingdom minded instead of relying on the wisdom and logic of man. In this world it seems completely unfair and makes no sense for one person to work one hour and another to work all day and receive the same wages. Who wants to do that?? But God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. I’ve heard it said that His kingdom is different from man’s economy. I mean think about it, Jesus took 2 fish and a few loaves and fed thousands! It doesn’t add up using human reasoning.
Looking at verse 6 – The master of the house asked the laborers who hadn’t been hired, why do you stand idle all day? And in verse 7 – They responded because no man hath hired us.
It seems like they were ready to serve, but hadn’t been asked or employed. Isn’t that the case today? There are people who are ready and willing to serve God, but no one asks them. They are willing and ready to be used. They go unseen by men, but God sees them and has use for them.
Following earthly standards you don’t need to use all the players on the team. Look at sports, there is always someone sitting on the sidelines because the rules of the game determine the number allowed on the field. You can only have ‘x’ number of players on the field at one time.
But in the kingdom of God, it’s different. He is calling laborers. He calls them early in the morning (Matt 20:1), at the third hour (Matt 20:3), at the 6th and ninth hour (Matt 20:5), and even at the eleventh hour (Matt 20:6), basically the end of the day.
In today’s language the eleventh hour is an expression referring to last minute things. According to Webster’s dictionary it is “the latest possible time before it is too late”. In the kingdom God knows there is work to be done and workers are needed no matter the time.
How do we know the eleventh hour isn’t the most difficult? When the workers hired in the morning are winding down, maybe the eleventh hour workers are at full strength. Maybe they can do many times more work in less time. Maybe the eleventh hour workers give the final push that completes the work. We don’t know, but God does. In the eleventh hour the work could be dangerous. Perhaps the eleventh hour workers were chosen ‘for such a time as this’. God likely equipped them for the work that needed to be done at that time.
In Matt 20: 9-12 the workers were then paid and all received the same wages. Those hired first were very upset when they received the same wages as those hired last. In man’s economy wages should be fair. You get paid for the number of hours you work. It just makes sense. I don’t think many would argue that.
In the Kingdom however, God is the owner and makes the decisions. In His kingdom, everything is His. Really in the world everything is His as well, we just don’t always remember that. We may not understand it, but if God chooses to show extra kindness to someone for any reason whatsoever, we don’t have a say. His thoughts are not our thoughts. Though it doesn’t appear to make sense, it seems to me that God is letting us know in His kingdom our thinking has to be different. We can’t use human logic or we will miss the kingdom and get stuck on ‘fairness’. God is trying to show us a more excellent way. Was it fair for Jesus to go to the cross so that our sins could be forgiven? He didn’t sin, yet died a terrible death for us.
If we are servants of God, isn’t it our job to do what He asks and let Him work out the rest? Of course it’s way easier said than done! I don’t believe we can do it without God’s help, but maybe we can allow Him to transform our thinking. Will you let God allow you to think in terms of His kingdom instead of earthly thinking? Will you do what He asks you to do even if it doesn’t seem fair? Let’s give it a try.
How will you shine today?