Lenten Bible Study – Day 34

Monday, March 29, 2021 – Day 34
Matthew 20:1-16
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage,[a] he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage.[b] 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage.[c] 11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?[d] 14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’[e] 16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”[f]
When I was a young man, maybe 14 or 15, I washed dishes at a local restaurant. I worked extremely hard washing dishes, taking out the trash, and mopping the floor. I would be working non-stop on the weekends and would come home late at night tired and smelling like fish. My reward for my work was $5.35 an hour. As any young person I was shocked to look at my paycheck and see just how much taxes I had to pay on my already small check. On the flip side my younger sister babysat neighborhood kids. She would play with the kids and then put them to bed and watch tv.  She was paid by the families 8 dollars an hour and it wasn’t taxed because the people just handed her cash. She was literally making twice as much as me and was working not nearly as hard.
While I was completely jealous and bitter as a young person, I can look back at appreciate my experience. While at the time I felt it was un fair, both of us agreed to the money we would be paid. I could have left any time I wanted and was not forced to work for the wage I agreed upon. I used to think it was unfair that I had to work so hard for so little. Now I look back and realize that it was really good for me. It built in me a strong work ethic and made me appreciate money much more than some of my peers who just had money given to them by their parents. 
Often times when I read this parable I can understand why the early workers are upset. They work much harder and longer than the late workers. However, I now think that maybe there are other benefits to being an early worker than just the money. 
God’s grace is available to all people through faith in Jesus Christ. This can happen to some as children and others as adults. Some hear God’s words as children and cling to them, while others ignore it for years and years, maybe coming back to you later. I have heard some people say that the people that ignore God and live a crazy life don’t deserve God’s grace. The truth is none of us deserve grace, but it is available to all of us no matter when we call out to Jesus. If you haven’t taken Jesus as your savior I hope that you do, recognizing the grace and love that is waiting for you. I also hope that you do it today, there are a lot of benefits of living knowing how much God loves you!
God, we thank you for your grace. Let us be reminded that your grace is for all people no matter how old they are, or how they have lived their life. Let us also be thankful that we are living our lives knowing the promises we have in you. Amen.