The Story of the Vineyard
Matthew 20: 1 -16
How many times have you looked upon a situation and said, “That’s not fair!” It may have when someone is promoted who clearly did not have the skill set for the job. It may be the father who dotes so much on one child that he fails to recognize his other children. At a glance today’s Gospel lesson reeks of unfairness. How could those “Johnny Come Lately’s” receive the same wages as those who had toiled all day in the fields? Did images of the elder son confronting his father as the younger son’s party was in full swing come to mind? You know that parable: The Prodigal Son. I must admit I did. But that is because I failed to dwell on how the vineyard owner responded to the grumbling of those hired to work for him. I also failed to remember Jesus is here trying to explain what the kingdom of God is all about.
One of the many sources I looked at reminded me is that this parable is not about fairness but about generosity, God’s generosity. As I thought of God’s generosity, I thought that this story reminds me of several things. First, that God is always ready to welcome folks into the kingdom. For those who realize at an early age what it means to walk with God, they have a lifetime (Sorta what those early workers represented.) What a joy that must be for those folks. They have had the luxury of fellowship with God. For others, it takes them longer to find a relationship with God through God’s son, Jesus Christ. Nonetheless, when they knock on that door, God is always willing to open and say, “Welcome Home!”
Another point worth exploring is the intended audience for this Gospel. Knowing that Matthew was writing to the early church. It was a church made up of Jewish Christians as well as Gentile Christians. For those with a long history of the Jewish faith; those who believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah Israel had waited for, these folks may well be those workers who went to the fields early in the morning. For those Gentile Christians, they were the newbies. But Matthew is stressing both were welcomed into the kingdom.
Lastly, Jesus compares the kingdom to a vineyard, a place to work. I think it wise to remember, the kingdom dwellers are kingdom builders, or workers. What an opportunity we have to work together in God’s vineyard!
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Scripture for Sunday, September 20: Psalm 105, Exodus 16: 2 -15; Philippians 1: 21 -30; Matthew 20: 1 - 16. We continue to spread the Gospel of love and grace. Will you not join us in this effort? The rewards are heavenly! See you Sunday(electronically), Alanna