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

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

[Jesus said,] "For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work.

"At nine o'clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o'clock he did the same thing.

"At five o'clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, 'Why haven't you been working today?'

"They replied, 'Because no one hired us.'

"The landowner told them, 'Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.'"

— Matthew 20:1-7 NLT

Key Thought

Once again, Jesus returns to the use of parables to drive home a key point. The disciples must realize two things: First, while they have sacrificed a lot for the Kingdom, salvation is still God's sovereign gift. Second, those who the world thinks of being first will really be last when God evaluates things (Matthew 20:16).

God in his grace gives us something meaningful to do and then blesses us with more than we deserve for our involvement. No matter the age at which we decided to follow Jesus, we should view ourselves as 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, feeling that we are owed part or all of God's blessings. We are the blessed ones: freely blessed to be chosen to work in the Master's harvest and doubly blessed to be paid far more than we deserve.

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, or can do that will make me worthy of such grace. All I can do is thank you, praise you, and serve you for your generosity. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matthew 13:10-18
  • Matthew 19:29-30
  • Romans 6:21-23


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Illustration of Matthew 20:1-7 NLT — "The landowner told them, 'Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.'"

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.