THE STORIES OF WORKERS IN THE VINEYARD
TEXT: Matthew 20: 1-16
Memory Verse: So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. – Matthew 20:16
God loves us, and every one of us is called to come to Him. God has loved us! He needs us to always be with him.
How do you to call on someone? Do you say, “Hey, You, come over here! or “Oh, Dearie, would you like to come with us?” “Maybe you’ll say something like that. Did you know that we are named by God? We may not hear Him in the same way, but He is calling us. If we come to Him, we do so at various times in our lives.
God gives us positive things to do if we come to him. God, with His rewards, is always generous. Jesus told parables (or stories) in the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard to help us learn about God.
A parable is a story which shows us what God is like. There is one person in each parable that represents God. We will learn more about him when we find the person in the story. Since Jesus is the Son of God, we know that he completely represents God! So let’s listen and hear about the story and God!
The man who owns the Vineyard represents God in this parable. (A vineyard is a large farm where grapes are raised.) We will need to keep our eye on the owner of the Vineyard to learn about God!
The owner of the Vineyard employs workers.
A man who owned a vineyard went to the city one day to hire a couple of men for a day’s work. (Back then, when they were ready to work, the men of the city would come to the marketplace, and landowners would go out and employ them for the day The Vineyard Owner arrived very early in the morning and hired some men, telling them he would pay them the wages of a day to work all day. They decided and went to work out there. The Vineyard Owner came back and discovered several other men standing around doing nothing. He said, You’re going to work in my Vineyard, and I’m going to pay you what’s right.” They decided and went out to the Vineyard to go to work. The Vineyard Owner went out at noon and saw some other men standing around doing nothing, so he sent them to work as well, telling them that he would pay them what was right. During the day, he did this again and again until it was around evening at last almost quitting time! And he went and met some men who had been standing around all day doing nothing! He asked them, “Why did you stand here all day and do nothing?!” They said, “No one’s going to recruit us.”
(That was pretty dumb to say, wasn’t it?… mainly because he had been there recruiting people many times that day, But the owner of the Vineyard told them to go to work in his Vineyard and to work in his Vineyard He’d pay them for what was right. (These last men had scarcely had time until quitting time to get to the Vineyard!)
The Owner of the Vineyard pays his employees.
It was the end of the day at last! The employees pay time! The Owner of the Vineyard called His Servant to pay the workers. He told him to begin with the last one and then go to the first one. The men who were last employed (and had been working for about an hour) were paying enough money for a whole day’s work!
“The others, when they saw this, thought something like, “Wow! I’m going to be paid more than that! I’ve been working longer than he has! But as the others were being compensated, they discovered that they were all being paid the entire day’s wages, no matter how long they had been employed! Those who had been working all day grumbled when they saw this. (Do you know what it’s like to grumble? What does it sound like to grumble? Can you grumble? Let me hear from you. “Grump. I’m not pleased! It’s not fair!” “Yeah!” That’s exactly how it sounds!)
Workers Complain to the owner of the Vineyard
Some of these workers are UN-happy! They went to the owner of the Vineyard to complain! One of them said, “Hey! These guys worked for an hour, and you paid them the same as you paid us all day long to work! (Remember, the Vineyard Owner is the one who represents God in this parable. To find out what God is like, we must keep our eye on Him. Let’s see what the Vineyard Owner says…)
“The Owner of the Vineyard replied: “Friend, I am not unfair to you. You didn’t agree to work for a day’s salary? Take the money and go. I want to give the last hired man the same thing I gave you. Do I not have the right, with my own money, to do what I want? Or are you angry (envious) because I’m generous? The owner of the Vineyard was able to pay those who turned up last, the same as those who first came to work. He didn’t cheat on anyone who served the entire day. He paid them what they had been promised. He was only gracious to those who were later to come along! (In truth, he was gracious to all of them, because, in the first place, he gave them all the work!)
God rewards each one of us generously.
That’s how God is! GENEROUS is he! He cares for us and unconditionally loves us.
God is calling every one of us and asking us to come to Him. When we come to Him, He offers us things that are good to do. (As the Owner of the Vineyard put the men to work in his Vineyard.)
God rewards each of us generously in the end! There would be individual rewards: Jesus promised His followers that anyone who left everything in this world for His sake would receive 100 times as much at the renewal of all things,” PLUS eternal life. But this parable shows us that redemption is the same generous gift for all. It is not based on how long we serve God here on earth, but on the generosity, provision, and grace of God.
Isn’t God nice to love us so much that He kindly rewards all of us? Let’s pray and thank Him very much for loving us!
Oh God, Thank you for loving us! Thank you for being so kind to us!
We love you back!