Jesus’ Parables: Laborers In The Vineyard

It is human tendency to want to be number one. To be first. Be the best. To have the most. Have the best.

The disciples of Jesus were always arguing about who would be first among them. The best among them. The greatest. And over and over Jesus taught them that the kingdom of heaven doesn’t work that way. Instead, Jesus often told them that “many who are first will be last, and the last will be first” (Matthew 19:30). In Matthew 20:1-16 Jesus gave His disciples a parable to help them better understand that principle:

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 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.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”

In Christ we are all equal. In Christ we all receive the same grace. The same forgiveness. There is no “I’m better than you.” There are no big Christians/small Christians. There is no male or female, Jew or Gentile, etc. We are all one in Christ. We have the same Father, the same Savior, and the same Spirit. We are all to rejoice in Christ together. Worship together. Share in this life together. We will be in Heaven together. We are one. The greatest among us is GOD. We are all to be humbled by the glory of God. It is all about Him. Not about us.


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