Saturday, September 23, 2017

Proper 20

24 September – Proper 20 – Matthew 20:1-16
It’s Payday!

When unemployment figures are released for the nation, the state, or the local community people take notice.  The goal is always to have zero unemployment. In America, most are happy with 5 or 6% unemployment or less.  Unemployment means poverty, enforced idleness, increase in crime, welfare payments etc.

In God’s Kingdom there is not to be any unemployment.  God, as the householder, goes to the marketplace at different times of the day and asks, “Why do you stand here idle all the day? Come and work for Me!”

Every worker is interested in the wages for his work. Before he takes a job, he asks what the wages will be. If they are not adequate he may refuse to work.  What is the nature of God’s wages?  We know what the wages of sin is.  “The wages of sin is death.” Do we know the wages of God? This morning, let’s consider the nature of God’s wages.

1.      The amount is God’s decision, not our demands. “...and to those he said, 'You too go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.' And {so} they went.” (v.4NAS)  The landlord asked the workers to go into the vineyard. Agreeing to pay the workers a pre-determined amount.
God’s pay scale contradicts our notion of rewards. The enemies of Jesus’ day, the Pharisees, grumbled about Christ’s gracious offer to sinners. Even Peter thought he and the other disciples should have received more. They had not left their homes, their families and jobs to follow the Savior.

Yet God deals fairly with us. God is a real equal opportunity employer. Whatever we give up we receive back a hundred –fold. And finally, we receive eternal life. Jesus says “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” - Matthew 19:29

2.      The wages are uniform – Everyone gets the same. "And when those {hired} first came, they thought that they would receive more; and they also received each one a denarius. (v. 10 NAS) God has dealt fairly with us. No injustice has been done. We have received the agreed wage. God never promised to give us what we think we deserve for our efforts. 

Could it be that if we find ourselves grumbling that it may reveal a loveless and unmerciful attitude? If this were so. We are under Law instead of under grace more then we perhaps care to realize.

Yet, isn’t it wonderful that even those of us who worked only one hour also receiving a denarius? 
There is a lesson to be learned here. The work itself is already a reward in and of itself! Just to be a Christian is a privilege. It is not a wearisome duty but a happy service. No matter how long God allows us to serve. There is no richer, fuller life than that of a disciple of Christ. The wage question in the kingdom of God need not trouble us. In the kingdom there is no unemployment. The wage level is uniformly high.

3.      The wages are generous – The parable concludes. 'Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?' (v. 15NAS) 

God lives up to His promise to pay. We might go back on our words. And try to wiggle out of a commitment. Not so with the Savior. He has graciously promised that He will in no wise cast us aside. He went to the bloody cross on Good Friday to win for us salvation and life. There are literally hundreds of predictions in the Old Testament pointing to the cross. Jesus fulfilled them all and the payment for sin has been paid in full. The debt we owe has been paid.

God has a right to do what He pleases with His own. We are his workmanship. He is the one who deserves of our praise. We are obligated to Him. We are obligated to His Words and promises. He has the right to save and redeem those whom He pleases. This is why the landlord went back to the market place again and again. We should in no wise doubt that firmly believe, that this gracious act of the Father is an indication of His good and gracious will toward us. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost.

God is generous to all. From His vantage point God’s wages are more than generous. Because of who we are and the wrong we have done, we rightfully should not get anything from God. We should get nothing but condemnation. God gives His grace to all regardless of how long or how well they worked for Him.

Ours is to have the joy and the privilege of being in the kingdom. We do not serve for wages. You can never obligate a person for doing good. Our only reward is simply being in the Father’s kingdom and doing His good and gracious will.

Words – 880
Passive Sentences –6%
Readability – 79.1
Reading Level – 4.8
Luther’s Seal © Ed Riojas Higher Things

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