Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Working in a vineyard

The parable found in Matthew 20 was the start of my reading for this morning. Its a story of a man who needs to hire laborers to work in his vineyard. He went early in the morning and hired a group of men who agreed to a wage for their day's work. The man returned to the marketplace to hire more workers many times throughout the day, each time selecting more workers to work in his vineyard. The last group was selected when there was only an hours worth of work left to do. At the end of the day, the owner of the vineyard paid each man the same wage that was promised to the first group of workers, no matter which group of workers they were, or how long they had been working. When the laborers who had worked the full day realized this, they became really upset, claiming that they should be paid more because they worked longer. The owner of the vineyard explained to them that they had agreed to their pay at the start of the day, and that, since it was his vineyard and his money, he would choose how to reward each man who came to work in the field.

What a picture of life and the Christian faith... there are people called into this life from all times, all peoples, and for all purposes. We don't get to determine whose work in the kingdom is of greatest value, or who is worth more to God. Salvation remains consistent and unconditional for any who is of God's elect... there is only a promise of one atoning death that would cover the debt and be transferred as the righteous exchange for all who are called. Just as the wage agreed upon by the workers selected first was paid, even to those who were called last, not because of the hours worked, or the description of the job they did... they were paid simply because they answered a call to come and do the job placed before them. Each job was of equal importance for the owner.

Don't despair over the "worth" of your life, if you have been adopted into the family of God through Christ's blood and righteousness, your worth has been determined by He who set the wage. In the same way, don't let your pride get in the way of thinking that you are worth more to the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

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