Monday, June 14, 2010

The Workers in the Harvest



One of the most profound “truths” in the Bible regarding salvation by grace alone can be found in the parable that our Lord Jesus told of the workers in the harvest. This parable is not about the rewards that a believer will receive in heaven, but about service and obedience to God.

In this parable Jesus further clarified the membership rules of the kingdom of heaven—entrance is by God’s grace alone. In this parable, God is the landowner, and believers are the workers. This parable speaks especially to those who feel superior because of heritage or favored position, to those who feel superior because they have spent so much time with Christ, and to new believers as reassurance of God’s grace.

My friend, as you begin too read this parable, allow the Holy Spirit to discern the biblical truths about God’s free gift of salvation that He has given to you. Let all of your pride, jealousy and hatred dissipate as you begin to realize that God loves you, but that He shows no partiality or favorites among those who reach out to Him in faith and accepts His Son Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.


“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’ (Matthew 20: 1-7)

“So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” (Matthew 20: 8-16)

In the context of Matthew, the workers with the contract represent Israel; they had the promises and the covenants (see Rom. 3:1, 2; 9:4; Eph. 2:11, 12). Those without an agreement represent the Gentiles, who would be made equal with the Jewish people when salvation became available to all through faith in Jesus Christ (see Rom. 11:16, 17; Eph 2:13–15; 3:6).

The first workers complained that their wages were the same as those who had been hired late in the day. However, the owner had not cheated them; everyone received the agreed-upon sum for his work. The early workers grumbled because they were evil in their outlook; their master, however, was sovereignly generous.

This parable is not about rewards but about salvation. It is a strong teaching about grace, God’s generosity. We shouldn’t begrudge those who turn to God in the last moments of life, because, in reality, no one really deserves eternal life.

Many people we don’t expect to see in the kingdom will be there. The criminal who repented as he was dying (Luke 23:40-43) will be there along with people who have believed and served God for many years. Do you resent God’s gracious acceptance of the despised, the outcast, and the sinners who have turned to Him for forgiveness? Are you ever jealous of what God has given to another person? Instead, focus on God’s gracious benefits to you, and be thankful for what you have.

So the last shall be first, and the first last - Not only with regard to the Jews and Gentiles, but in a thousand other instances. For many are called - All who hear the Gospel; but few chosen - Only those who obey it. Matthew 19:30; 22:14.

Heavenly Father, it is my prayer today that whoever reads this parable will be convicted by its biblical truths which reflect Your love, mercy and grace.  Lord continue to search my heart and remove anything that will stand in the way of my walk with You.  Father God, I just turn everything over to You.  This sinners heart, soul and mind only wants to conform to your will.  I pray this all in my Lord Jesus' name.  Amen.


References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), and the Nelson Study Bible.

24 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

Excellent post. Too many Christians act as if we're saved by the Law and add their eleventh commandment besides. Good music, too!

middle child said...

Thank-you.

Dean Spencer said...

Amen. Couldn't say it better myself. It is all by God's sovereign grace. Praise God because I wouldn't have a chance in the world otherwise.

Thanks for sharing brother.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Excellent post, a most interesting read.

Yvonne.

One Heart said...

Grace...sounds like music. It is not something I don't value by treating it as an excuse for disobedience, but it is also not something I stomp on by claiming that I can obey at all if not for it. The focus must always be on His grace. It IS our ability to do anything of worth--even love. Obedience--yes, but because of His grace. All because of grace.

I thank you so much that your blog covers teaching. You are a brave man. ;) Thank you so much for sharing the truth in such humility and love. I am so glad I stopped here today after a little detour of sorts. ;)

Blessings my brother!

techranger said...

Praise the Lord for all He has done and for loving each of us so much.

Thanks for the great post.

musingsfrommesa said...

Hi Lloyd,
I am happy to follow your blog. You've accomplished some godly pricking and poking with love and truth. Have you had a chance to read 'The Prodigal God' by Timothy Keller? The heart of the message conveyed is similar, but he presents it from the story of the prodigal son (with the focus on the elder brother). It's a great read if you are so inclined (*warning, more pricking and poking involved).
Blessings,
Terri

Mari's Cakes said...

I loved reading this. It is so true, the generosity of our Lord is so immense. It is so comforting to know that if we have sin and repent, the grace of the Lord is with us and we too will have salvation no matter what, because the love of our Lord distinguishes no difference.

Have a blessed day!

Antique ART Garden said...

Very good post, thanks ! Gina

RCUBEs said...

Amen! We can't take credit for anything. Glory be to God! God bless.

Shoshi said...

Thank you for this. Beautifully put. It's all about His ability, and our availability, isn't it.

Shoshi

Da Pilgrim said...

Hey there,

Cool blog man. Thanks for the invite!

Dan

Crystal Mary said...

I share your thoughts and prayer.

You men are so excellent!

pvfranciscanos said...

God bless you my saint.
Thank you very much for all.
Congratulations!

Eve said...

Great Post - Thank you!

Autumn Living said...

Thank you Lloyd...I love this parable. It IS about God's goodness...not what we deserve. We all need to be reminded of this.

Blessings to you,
Kimbeerlynn

Lucy said...

I was reading that very passage last night.

Rick said...

Thanks for posting. I shall link to your site.

Meandu said...

Great blog! Enjoyed my visit. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

MamaMiaTaytay said...

Lloyd, Thank you for visiting my blog. Enjoyed reading your stuff. I will come back for more englightening soon.....MAHALO!

Jesson And Rey Ann said...

nice post...

Kirsti said...

This stop and think.Wonderful that you write this blog.Thank you.
Jesus bless you!

INSIDE THE SHRINK said...

This is a great post. The parable has always shown me how self-centered we are. Haven't we understood by now that God's ways are higher than our ways. Rather than grumbling that we labored longer in the field, we should be rejoicing that those who arrived later made it too.

That's what I've always gleaned from that passage. Now I have another perspective. Thanks Lloyd. Your friendship and fellowship are a blessing to me. God bless, Dr. Bobbi

Thandi said...

Yes, how can we deny others salvation when we ourselves don't deserve it.No matter when they come, they are worthy of His mercy.