Matthew 20:1-16 The Unfairness of Christianity

Jesus now is going to give us another glimpse into the Kingdom of Heaven. It is an illustration of what the Kingdom of Heaven is like and we have to be careful to not read too much into it other than the illustration that is there. Jesus is trying to make a point on how God operates and by doing so Jesus is changing the mindset of the people He is speaking to.

Master of the House went out to hire laborers

1)   You are invited to be a part of what God is doing.

We see throughout the story that there is a landowner who has work to do and because of the amount of work that needed to be done He went and got workers to help Him bring the harvest in. Gods work or harvest has always been about people and just like a farmer goes and works to bring in the crop so we are to go and work to bring people to Christ.

Matthew 9:36-38 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

How do you see people?

DO you see their actions and hate them or do you feel sorry for them? Too many Christians see the actions of people and have anger toward them instead of pity.

Matthew 9:11-13 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

People  act the way they do for a reason and we need to look past their sins and into their hearts because if we don’t then we will turn out to be just like the Pharisees. We are called by the landowner to be a part of bringing people home just like a farmer is to bring in the harvest. Not just those who we think deserve it but those who God has called us to go and reach.

There was nothing special about these laborers they were just ordinary people waiting for work. The fact that they were standing in the market place shows that they were day laborers and had no work to do that day unless they were hired. If they had jobs or if they had their own vineyard then they would not have been there.

Too many people think they have nothing to offer God therefore God cannot use them but this shows it is not your abilities that God wants but your availability.God does not say you do not have much to offer me so just sit back and do nothing, He invites you to come and work for Him. Whatever gifts and abilities even if its one thing He expects you to use that for Him

5 groups of people were hired that day. 6 AM, 9 AM, Noon, 3 PM and 5 PM. A typical Jewish day was from 6 AM till 6 PM so the Master continued to go and search for more workers.

Why have you stood here Idle the whole day?

In real life that would more than likely not happened because no one would be hired for an hour of work at the end of the day. They claim that no one has hired them and yet we see the Master continually going there to find more workers

Even though we do not know why they were not hired before the fact that they were there meant they were searching for work. The Master continues to use people to reach people because He did not have a plan B. God has established from the beginning that He would use people to tell them about Him.

Are you doing what God has called you to do or only what you think HE wants you to do?

There is a lot of ministry done in the name of God that is not of God. There is always a temptation to do ministry that God did not call us to do and it is our responsibility to listen for the call of God. God does not need us to dream big dreams for Him, He needs us to listen and obey.

Everyone is created to fulfill a job for Him. You may think you want to do a job but you may not be created to do that job. Not everyone can sing and not everyone can teach. God has designed you for a purpose and it is up to you to find that purpose and serve Him faithfully.

Where Christianity is unfair

At the end of the story we see those who were hired first upset because those hired last received the same amount of pay. The first ones worked through the heat of the day and did not give up but they were given the same amount of money as those who came the last hour. Jesus was trying to change the mentality that they had that if they worked harder and longer it put them in a better status with God.

2)   You are rewarded for your opportunity not your accomplishments.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

They should have rejoiced with those who earned so much money only working for one hour just like we should rejoice with those who spend their whole lives wasting them to turn to Christ as the end and get rewarded with Heaven.

Maybe they grew up in a house that taught a different religion, or were not afforded the opportunities that we in America have had to hear the call of God but no matter when people come to Christ we need to rejoice.

Jesus was teaching is that salvation can be granted even in the last hour.

Luke 23: 39-43 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him,[d] saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

This criminal on the cross was a last hour worker for Jesus. Although he probably did not realize it he was proclaiming who Christ was as he yelled across at the other criminal. This means that the Roman guards, the Jewish leaders and any other spectators that came to see the crucifixion would have heard him proclaim that Jesus was innocent.

The people in the story not rejoicing over the same reward are similar when people have a hard time rejoicing that a criminal accepts Christ before they are executed.

People want God to be gracious toward them but not others.  God was fair to them and they received what He said they would receive. This teaching many have a hard time with because they have a works mentality instead of a grace mentality. This teaching from Jesus is not about the rewards we will receive individually for what we have given up here on earth but it is on the fact that all get to Heaven through the Masters call and the acceptance of that call not by our works.

Entrance into heaven is by grace

2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

(See Also James 1:12 and 1 Corinthians 9)

As Christians when we stand before God we are not judged by our works to get into Heaven but if we accepted the call of Christ.

3)   There is only so much time to work

John 9:4-5 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

We do not know exactly what time it is and how long we have to work. Our job is to be like Christ continuing to get people to work in the Vineyard. Our job is to work hard even though the sun is hot and we are tired.

James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

If you are a Christian than you should be about the work of Christ. No matter how late you come to Christ God can use you even if it is just like the thief on the cross which was for an hour or so. No matter how late in life you come to Christ or how little you have to offer, God can use you.

It is never too late till it is too late.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Our job is to be used by God to appeal to our families, neighbors and coworkers that they are separated from God. Reconciliation is a two way street and although God has made the way for us to be in a right relationship with Him not all will accept His call.

Again people have a hard time believing that the work that Christ did on the cross pays for their sins. Some people think their sins are not that bad or even sins at all so what Jesus did on the cross does not apply to them.

If we are going to be used by God then we first have to accept His call.

To accept the call of Christ you first have to realize you are needy, and unable to do it on your own and are helpless to find work on your own.  Just like the men waiting to work had no hope for work we have no hope for salvation outside of Christ.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 10:13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[

Our acceptance into Heaven is not based on us and what we do or do not do but on what Christ did for us. God continues to place the call for those to come to Him and He continues to use us to work in His vineyard to help bring more people to Him.

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