Our scripture this week is Matthew 20:1-16.
For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.
In this lesson, sometimes called the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Jesus teaches us about our relationship to each other in the kingdom of God. We did not all begin our journey with Christ at the same time, from the same place or the same point in our lives. However, in His eyes, we are all the same.
Because He sees us as equals, we are all under the same expectations as His workers in the field. We have been called to share His love and the blessing of salvation with others through the gifts we have been given. Each is expected to follow the commandments to love God, love neighbor and make disciples.
However, Jesus also recognizes us as individuals, distinctly gifted for our work in the kingdom and called for a purpose. While we have a single, common goal to strive for, Jesus knows and loves each of us individually. He teaches us to work together but to love each other as unique individuals.
Wise and wonderful God, You have created us to be Your people, bound by a desire to be useful in Your kingdom. Help us to see each other as fellow workers with diverse gifts needed to reach all people for You. Amen.