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Matthew 20:1-16: Workers for His Vineyard

Posted by adventbiblestudy on May 25, 2012


Matthew 20:1-16 NLTse “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. (2) He agreed to pay the normal daily wage 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. (4) So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. (5) So 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. (9) When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. (10) When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. (11) When 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? (14) Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. (15) Is 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.”

 

 

Jodan loved watching the sun come up over the hills. For months he had watched the light reflect off the green leaves of the grape vines. He thought of the years of labor that went into the vines along the hills. Pruning, shaping, pulling weeds, carrying water to the irrigation system high on the hill. His life was dedicated to the harvest. Now the rays of the sun lite up the purple masses hanging from the vines. As Jordan looked upon the hills overwhelming joy filled his heart as he prayed. He thanked God for the blessing of such an abundant crop. “I could never had done it with out you Lord. You bring the rain, and filled your sky with the sun light that made the plants grow. Lord I thank you for blessing my labors, and leading me along every step.”

 

Jodan walked through the rows of grape vines inspecting each plant. He stopped to study one. The grapes were just the right size. The dark purple fruit was covered with a slight haze of white. He picked a single grape to taste. The sweetness filled his mouth. Spitting out the seed, he knew the day for harvest had come.

 

After a light and hearty breakfast, Jodan headed to the market as his family began harvesting. Many people already gathered looking for employment. They all knew Jodan, and quickly accepted his invitation to work in his field. As they walked along the road to the vineyard, Jodan shared his joy as be poured out his thanks to God.

 

After a few hours of work, his family brought out lunch for the workers. Surveying the progress, Jodan could tell the harvest would not be completed in time. He could not afford to let such a blessing spoil. He headed back to the market to look for more workers. On the way he wondered if any would be available. With a portion of the day gone, they may have become disheartened and gone home to waste the day away. To his surprise he found several new faces willing to share in the work. He returned to the vineyards with the new workers. Some of the more experienced workers helped guide the younger.

 

It didn’t take long for Jodan to realize the work was not progressing at a fast enough rate. Near the end of the day while his family was serving the workers the late afternoon supper, he decided he had no choice but to look for additional workers. Realizing few people would be available at such a late hour, he prayed all the way to the market. His prayers were answered when he found a group of people standing around with nothing to do. He asked them, “Why haven’t you been working today?” They replied, “Because no one hired us.” Jodan told them, “Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.” Although the day was far spent, many of them decided to work in the vineyard to earn what little they could.

 

This group by far was the least experienced, but Jodan explained everything they needed to do along the way. As soon as they arrived, they were almost as productive as the first group, who slowed down a little bit as they observed the often awkward techniques used by the new group of workers. Their style was a little different, but their fresh, eager minds and young muscles soon helped to increase their efficiency.

 

That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. Of course the more experienced workers were the first in line to receive their pay, while the younger workers who arrived late were still busy in the field. The foreman went to the edge of the field to call them in. Once they arrived, he paid those who arrived last. Afterwards, he paid the workers who arrived at noon.

 

The more experienced workers stood by watching the entire process. They knew Jodan well. As they waited, they talked about his generosity, and the abundant harvest. Their hearts filled with anticipation as they saw the reward each worker after them received. They began discussing how they had helped train the other workers, and how much they thought they had accomplished during the day.

 

At last the foreman came to them. He quickly distributed the wages to the group that arrived first. As they looked at their wages, they could not help but protest directly to Jodan. ‘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.’ Jodan answered one of them, “Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?”

 

“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”

 

Jesus looked at His disciples. Once again they looked confused. He wondered what their thoughts were as He compared the rewards of Heaven to a wage on earth. He prayed they would concentrate on the generosity of the land owner paying double, triple the wage for the amount of work completed. After all, what more could God give beyond eternal life? It is impossible to add to, or subtract from it.

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One Response to “Matthew 20:1-16: Workers for His Vineyard”

  1. adventbiblestudy said

    To learn more about this and other Bible Study methods, visit this post: https://adventbiblestudy.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/free-online-bible-studies-teaching-simple-study-methods/

    Like

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