Bible In One Year-Day 57 (Wednesday, February 26, 2014)
We just read Matt19-21. Chapter20 has parables and interesting scenarios which addressed workers in the vineyard of God. The first hire agreed for a certain amount of money or reward. The agreement of the wage was per day. Many workers were brought in afterwards. Therefore, technically, the landowner did what was agreed on. But logically, they were expecting whoever comes in later to receive less than whatever they received. They, indeed, bore the heat of the day; the sufferings, hardships, difficulties in clearing the land etc. comparing these levels of hires, we could see that the landowner was more gracious to the last hires. If there was any set of people who should be more thankful to the landowner, it should be the last hires. The fearful aspect of Jesus’ saying in the parable is Matt19:16 “So the last shall be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen.” Let’s look at some lessons in this parable. First, it is not the number of hours put into the work that determined the pay. Secondly, grace changes status, i.e. the last can be the first and an outcast to be divinely accepted. Thirdly, reward of the vineyard is equal to all, i.e. they shall live together as one. Fourth, reward of the vineyard is not measured by human standard but by the wish of the owner, 1Cor4:4-5. Lastly, those who actually did the job are actually the first hires and so the reward is measured by agreement. In essence, there is no greater reward than the initial promise. In applying this to kingdom work, beloved, the first hires were the Apostles; they did all the work; otherwise, you and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the gospel. The hardship, persecutions, difficulties and sufferings they passed through are unparallel. All of them died cruel deaths for the sake of the gospel. There is no greater reward than the promise given to the Apostles, Matt19:27-30. We, therefore, have no excuses to be hardworking in the vineyard. If they have reward for their work, then we better work harder in the vineyard of God. Many count offenses while doing this work of God rather than being thankful for God’s graciousness. The number of years spent in the church could offer positions but not the kingdom requirement. The problem of many ministries and churches are the foundation members who attack the zeal of new members. Rages, envies, jealousies, indignations and fights among the members and workers just as we noticed when the sons of Zebedee asked for greater anointing and Jesus granted them, Matt20:24. A lot want anointing through easy path just to lord it on people as the gentiles do. The Master said it shouldn’t be so amongst us. The first position, by the kingdom’s standard, shall be by diligent service. Jesus said that if the harlot and other so called sinners eventually turn to do God’s will, they shall be candidates of the kingdom while the deceivers will be denied. Unfortunately, there are a lot of fig trees occupying the vineyard of God now, upon which Jesus could not find any fruit of the Spirit. The house of God has become ‘den of thieves’. More stones are thrown at Jesus inside the church than what Jesus is experiencing outside of the church. Once the principles of love are affected, Jesus is affected. The only chair you could give Jesus to sit upon in any congregation is the chair of unfailing love. We have no righteousness to offer Him because ours is filthy. We are enjoying the righteousness of Jesus and nothing else. The last hire enjoyed the landowner’s grace, so we are enjoying God’s grace as the last hires and therefore, we ought to extend this gracious heart to ourselves and outsiders. Let us ask ourselves the question; the standard of work you’re doing for God now and that which the Apostles did, comparing the two, are you qualified for the same denarius? LET CHRIST REIGN SUPREME in our hearts. May His light glow the more in our souls in the name of Jesus. Prayer: My first shall not be the last in the name of Jesus. Reading for today is Matt22-24. Keep the fire burning and alive.