An invitation to work

n Matthew 20, Jesus tells the story of the grumbling workers. More than likely your Bible has a heading that says something similar to this: “Laborers in the Vineyard.” The story really is about a group of day laborers sent to work in the vineyard and how some of them responded to their pay.

The first character introduced is the master. He owns a large estate and ­apparently has work to do and the financial ability to pay laborers. He ­travels to the marketplace and offers to pay workers one denarius for a day’s work. He hires five different groups of workers. One starts in the early ­morning (Matt. 20:1–2). The second starts at 9:00 a.m. (Matt. 20:3–4). The third group starts around lunchtime (Matt. 20:5). The fourth group is hired at 3:00 p.m. (Matt. 20:5). The final group is hired at 5:00 p.m. (Matt. 20:6–7). At the end of the day each worker is given the same amount for his work.

The first group grumbles (Matt. 20:10–12). Understandably so! They worked the entire day and received the same pay as those in the fifth group hired that worked about one hour. Most people sympathize with the workers hired in the early morning. It seems unfair and unjust that they would receive the same amount as the group hired last.

But sympathizing with that group is the wrong side of the story. Jesus is telling this story to condemn the attitude of the first group. Why? Because people who complain and grumble are at odds with God. The envy and dissatisfaction is based on the idea that God treated someone else better than he treated you. That’s what Jesus is teaching in Matthew 20. The master is God and therefore any grumbling by the first group of workers is interpreted as those who complain about God.

God’s children shouldn’t have a ­grumbling heart. Consider some ­solutions for those who complain…

Be thankful. The men in Matthew 20 weren’t owed a job by the master. Rather than complain, they should have been grateful they were hired. They were given an opportunity to earn a day’s wage. For that they should have been grateful.

Avoid comparison. The first group of workers is angry because they compared themselves to the last group hired. It should be pointed out that God isn’t required to treat everyone equally. The master in the story says that he could have done whatever he desired since the wages first belonged to him (Matt. 20:15). Keep that in mind… God doesn’t have to treat everyone fairly.

Understand God rewards ­faithfulness—not production. Too often the only thing considered is production. How many degrees do you have? How many sales did you make? How many baptisms did you have? What is the contribution? God doesn’t care about ­production. He sees a man’s heart. He looks at a man’s faith.

Remember you can trust God. One of the reasons the workers grumble is that they fail to trust the master. They don’t trust him to pay them fairly. Understand this… You can trust God. No one will be ­underpaid. He is fair. He is just. He is also generous. At the end, everyone will be given more than they deserve. Why? Because no one deserves the reward.

God is looking for laborers for His ­vineyard right now. He is offering you a place in His kingdom. Seize the ­opportunity. Accept His invitation today.