What Jesus Did! 'Kingdom Laborers' — Matthew 20:1-7

Thursday, September 14, 2017

"The kingdom of heaven is like a man that owned some land. The man grew grapes on his land. One morning, the man went out very early to hire some other people to work in his field. The man agreed to pay the workers one silver coin for working that day. Then the man sent the people into the field to work. At about nine o'clock the man went to the market place and saw some other people standing there. These people were doing nothing. So the man said to them, 'If you go and work in my field, I will pay you what your work is worth.' So the people went to work in the field. The man went out again about twelve o'clock and again at three o'clock. Both times the man hired some other people to work in his field. At about five o'clock the man went to the market place again. He saw some other people standing there. The man asked them, 'Why did you stand here all day doing nothing?' The people said, 'No person gave us a job.' The man said to them, 'Then you can go and work in my field.'"
— Matthew 20:1-7
Illustration of Matthew 20:1-7 — "The kingdom of heaven is like a man that owned some land.

Key Thought

Once again, Jesus returns to the use of parables to drive home a key point. The disciples must realize two things. First, that while they have sacrificed a lot for the Kingdom, salvation is still God's sovereign gift. Second, those who the world think of being first will really be last when he evaluates things. God in his grace gives us something meaningful to do and then blesses us with more than we deserve for our involvement. We are those workers who were picked at the end of the day. To see ourselves otherwise is to put ourselves in the position of pettiness, jealousy and self-deception. We are the blessed ones: blessed to be chosen to work in the Master's harvest and doubly blessed to be paid for more than we earned.

Today's Prayer

Oh Father, you have so graciously shared with me your salvation, your Spirit, your promises, and your Future. There is nothing I have done, or will do, that will make me worthy of such grace. All I can do is thank you and praise you for your generosity. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

"The kingdom of heaven is like a man that owned some land. The man grew grapes on his land. One morning, the man went out very early to hire some other people to work in his field. The man agreed to pay the workers one silver coin for working that day. Then the man sent the people into the field to work. "At about nine o'clock the man went to the market place and saw some other people standing there. These people were doing nothing. So the man said to them, 'If you go and work in my field, I will pay you what your work is worth.' So the people went to work in the field. "The man went out again about twelve o'clock and again at three o'clock. Both times the man hired some other people to work in his field. At about five o'clock the man went to the market place again. He saw some other people standing there. The man asked them, 'Why did you stand here all day doing nothing?' "The people said, 'No person gave us a job.' "The man said to them, 'Then you can go and work in my field.' "At the end of the day, the owner of the field said to the boss of all the workers, 'Call the workers and pay all of them. Start by paying the last people I hired. Then pay all of them, ending with the workers I hired first.' "The workers that were hired at five o'clock came to get their pay. Each worker got one silver coin. Then those workers that were hired first came to get their pay. Those workers thought they would be paid more than the other workers. But each one of those workers also received one silver coin. When they got their silver coin, these workers complained to the man that owned the land. The workers said, 'Those people were hired last and worked only one hour. But you paid them the same as us. And we worked hard all day in the hot sun.' "But the man that owned the field said to one of those workers, 'Friend, I am being fair with you. You agreed to work for one silver coin. Right? So take your pay and go. I want to give the man that was hired last the same pay that I gave you.I can do what I want with my own money. Are you jealous because I am good {to those people}?' "So the people that have the last place now will have the first place in the future. And the people that have the first place now will have the last place in the future."

Matthew 20:1-16

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.