Devotional Thought for This Morning
“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.’ 9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘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.’ 13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
If you have ever been to one of those large home improvement stores, you’ve probably seen day workers gathered in the parking lot hoping to get hired. This is the way it works. If you go early in the morning, say 6 or 7am, you’ll notice that the young stronger guys get picked up first. If you come back at 10am or so, you won’t find any young guys; instead, you’ll only see middle-aged and older men. If you come back after noon, all the middle-aged men will be gone, presumably because someone has hired them, but you’ll likely find a handful of older men. At this point in the day, the prospect of finding employment for these men is minimal. Now this is the truly sad part, if you go back the next day or the day after that, around the noon to 2pm hours, you’ll notice that it’s more or less the same older men standing out there hoping to get work. How often do you think these guys get picked up for work? Can’t be more than a few times a month, right?
Now could you imagine how joyous one of these older day workers would be if some guy came up, hired him to do an hour worth of yard work or something, and then paid him like $200-$300. How excited do you think this old man would be to tell his wife about the gracious bounty he received and how for at least a few days, they wouldn’t have to worry about making ends meet?
Look, I may not be a 6am worker, but I do feel like I’m at least a 9am worker (not trying to brag), and when I read this parable I often identify with the grumbling workers who bore the sun’s heat. Too often I’m ashamed to admit that I forget to rejoice at the master’s generosity toward those who really really “need” it. Perhaps it’s because after so many years of walking in Christ, I’ve actually felt entitled to his grace, and instead of remembering how much I need it, I’ve actually come to believe I’ve earned it. What about you? How would you feel if God made that person in your life who has made all the wrong choices “equal to you”? Would you rejoice or would you grumble? Why?
For the record, I basically stole this morning’s devotional from a recent message I heard from Ryan Baitzel, pastor of Emergence Church, Totowa, NJ.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your grace in my life. Thank You that You’re gracious to me and You’re gracious to people who’ve made all the wrong choices in life. Help me never to be envious or entitled but remind me of Your generous heart.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 9
Lunch Break Study
Read Psalm 1001-5: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Questions to Consider
- What are some things the Psalmist gives thanks/praise for (vs. 3 and 5)?
- Do you see these things in your life?
- How is your heart of thanksgiving lately?
- In vs. 3, the Psalmist praises the Lord for his ownership and care, and in vs. 5 he praises the Lord for his enduring love.
- As believers, God has adopted us into his family so we “belong to him”. He also cares for us and provides for us. And his everlasting love in Christ remains forever. Hopefully, you have personal testimonies of all these ways God shows his love for us.
- Personal response
When was the last time you thanked God for the most fundamental gift of Christianity, eternal life in Christ? Do you still have a heart for those who still need God’s grace in their lives?