Day 23

Matthew 20:1-16

“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 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.”

When I was a kid, I received an allowance. My jobs were to mow the yard, take out the trash and clean the garage. I hated those jobs. My sisters got easy jobs. Help with dinner, and…well, that’s basically it. At the end of the week, we all got the same pay. Unfair! Right? That’s what I thought. My jobs were terribly hard, and nobody wanted them. But the pay was the same.

That’s what is happening in this story. Some workers felt like they deserved more pay, but the landowner treated them all the same. What does this say about God and the way He sees us?

The Bible says man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart. This is so true, isn’t it? We have our own measuring stick of what’s important, what jobs are important, or who is most important. That’s not how it is in the Kingdom. Whether you’re the greatest stadium preacher of all time or someone who’s in charge of the Church kitchen, the pay is the same.

God looks at the heart and cares less about what we do for Him than about how loving our relationship is with Him. Maybe that’s why He said, “The first shall be last.” Isn’t it great to be at the end of the line? As long as Jesus is in the front, I’m good with that!