Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Shepastor: "It Belongs to God..."

Parable of the Vineyard Workers
1“For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2He agreed to pay the normal daily wagea and sent them out to work. 3“At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. 4So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. 5So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing. 6“At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’7“They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’“The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’8“That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. 9When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. 10When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. 11When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, 12‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’13“He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? 14Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. 15Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’ 16“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”

Jesus’ parable of the workers in the vineyard is troublesome in the light of our concept of “fairness.” Anyway you cut it, it just does not seem fair, right, just, etc.! How is it that those who came to work early, worked hard all day long, in the heat of the day, get the same pay as those who mosey in at the last hour? Something seems to be very, very wrong with this picture!

Now those of us who have been in church any length of time have heard this story. We understand that Jesus is referring to salvation and God's grace (unearned favor)– The Lord will save us whenever we say “yes.” It does not matter how, when or where. Age, time, etc., are not factors. The one who received Christ at an early age and served in the church all of his or her life will not receive some higher level of salvation than the one who accepts Christ near the end of their lives – just doesn’t seem fair!

This concept of “fairness” just does not fit well with how the Lord seems to operate. God’s sovereignty over rides our understanding of fairness. The crux of this message, however, flows over into other arenas of our walk with God. The Lord gives each of us assignments. Our job is to complete the work assigned to our hands. When we look across the proverbial class room and see the assignments and apparent “pay” of others, our human frailty may cause our spirit to holler, “Not fair!”

But Jesus asked the workers a simple question, “Is it wrong for me to do what I want with what is mine?” The song writer said, “Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way. Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after thine will, while I am waiting, yielded and still…”

We belong to the Lord. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein,” (Psalm 24:1). As difficult as it may feel at times, may we, by faith, allow the Holy Spirit to keep us focused upon our assignment. Whatever is right, He will pay.

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Until Next Wednesday,

In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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