The Laborers in the Vineyard – January 7th , 2018
Grace Communion Orlando Steve Schantz
Scripture reading: Matt 20:1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4 and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.
Throughout his ministry, Jesus used parables to convey deep truths about the Kingdom of God, God’s character and nature, and his love and understanding of people created in His image. While His stories were simple, they reveal a richness and depth of meaning that escaped many listeners. Yet each parable says something eternity-revealing and they spur us into action. In our world that is shaped by competition and earning, Jesus’ parables of grace seem to be upside down, bizarre, and other-worldly. Often the grace of God is celebrated by those who are vulnerable without it, and at the same time it frustrates those who suggest that they can make it all on their own. So let’s listen and learn, continuing from verse 5 to the end of the parable.
Matt 20:5 When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. 6 And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ 8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ 9 When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (NRSV)