Fair and equal compensation

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

“About the third hour 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 the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour 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 the eleventh hour 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 men 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, `Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man 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.”
(Matthew 20:1-16 (NIV))

What do you think of when reading the above scripture? Do you think of honesty and “fairness,” or do you think of generosity and grace? From the workers who were first hired, it does not seem that they were treated fairly by the landowner. They worked much longer than those who came later, but were paid the same for what they had done.

Think of it from a kingdom standpoint. These workers who were hired early in the day are those people who have believed from an early age. The workers who were hired mid-day are those people who have believed from a later point in their lives. The workers who were hired at the eleventh hour are those people who came to be believers late in life. Now take a look at the wages that they were paid. A denarius represents eternal life with God. How can that be divided for the different groups of people? No matter when the decision was made, the results are the same!

Isn’t it good to know that God freely gives His grace to all who ask for it with no stipulations or punishments for when they asked!

There are other interpretations of the above passage. But, based on God’s grace and mercy, reflection must be made regarding our attitude towards others when they accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Do we rejoice or are we angry because they will receive the same blessings and rewards as those of “us” who have accepted Jesus much earlier in life?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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