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The Vineyard

John Collins04/07/2012
Matthew 20 tells the parable of the laborers in the vineyard.  After agreeing to work for a denarius per day, the servants were sent out by the master into the vineyard early in the morning.

In the third hour of the day, the master went into the marketplace, finding some that were idle.  He said to them, "If you go into the vineyard to work, I will give you whatever you feel is right for your labor."  They went to begin working in the vineyard.

In the sixth hour and the ninth hour, the master did the same.  When it came to the eleventh hour, he went out and found others standing around idle.  "Why are you standing here idle all day," the master asked.  

"Because no one has hired us for work," they replied.  The master hired them and they began to work in the vineyard.

At evening time, the owner of the vineyard said to the foreman, "Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, and up to the first."

When those that came in the eleventh hour came, each received their denarius.  Those that were hired first thought they would receive more than agreed upon, but they also received a denarius.  Grumbling, they said, "These only worked one hour, but you have made them equal to us that have borne the burden of the day and the heat of the sun!"

He replied to them, "Friend, I did you no wrong.  You agreed to labor for a denarius, and I gave it to you.  Take it and go, because I choose to give this last worker the same I gave you."

"Do you think that I am not allowed to do as I choose with what belongs to me?  Or do you hold a grudge against me for my generosity?" the owner of the vineyard asked.

At the end of the parable, Jesus said again, "The last will be first, and the first will be last."

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Are we happy that God chose us to labor for Him?  If we are some of the first that accepted Jesus in our hearts, do we still remain as happy and excited about Jesus as the new ones that are accepting Him?  Do we hold the others in less esteem because they have not served Him as long as we have?  Do we think that we have more to gain because of the length of time that we served Him?  In doing so, do we hold a grudge against Jesus?  Are we the first, or are we the last?