Experiencing and Cherishing Amazing Grace 1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 and going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ 5 So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 and about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. and he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 and when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 and when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 and on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 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 a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.” 17 and as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, 18 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death 19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” (Matthew 20:1-19 ESV) God’s grace is not fair, and we should be thankful for that. The parable: God – the vineyard owner Believers – the workers Vineyard – the kingdom of heaven The labor – the work that we’re each called to do Jesus offered this parable to point out that salvation is not earned, but is freely and graciously given because of God’s generosity. There is nothing fair about our salvation; fairness would be justice served by everlasting punishment. Salvation is totally a gracious gift. Those who come to Jesus Christ in faith—regardless of social standing, history, income, wealth, or heritage, and no matter when in life they come—will all be accepted by Jesus. “Differences among human beings are infinitely smaller than the differences between even the most righteous human being and God. Before receiving Christ as Lord and Savior all [people] are equally lost, and after they receive him they are equally saved.” (John MacArthur). Receive God’s generous grace and be glad for yourself and others. God deals with us on the basis of his love and grace, not on what we believe to be fair and just. If we question his saving grace given to others, then we spurn it. and if we expect God to save us because of our worthiness, then we reject it and deprive ourselves of it. “Grace is doing good for someone when there is no compelling reason to do so and every reason not to” (Pete Alwinson). God moves toward us with goodness and he continues in such grace. Such amazing grace transcends human rationale and doctrine. It causes us to marvel and worship the God of grace. The Lord rejects the widely held notion: “First come, first served.” 1. God isn’t impressed by our achievements. 2. God rejects our comparisons. 3. God’s resources are his to do as he desires. (Life Application Bible Commentary) Failing to be joyful for all who receive God’s grace is a failure of our hearts. Let’s receive with joy God’s grace in our hearts and live with hearts full of grace and joy. The opposite is having envy. Ruth Walsh said, “Envy is the art of counting another’s blessings instead of your own! Based on the owner’s generosity to those who began their work later in the day, some workers assumed that they deserved and would receive more pay. In their selfishness, they began to wrongly believe that they were owed something. God’s kingdom work and reward is vastly different from the kingdom of the world. • The world motivates work by reward; in God’s kingdom, the reward is the work. • The world pushes for achievement; God’s kingdom promotes significance. • The world tilts favored work toward the rich; God’s kingdom tilts toward the poor in spirit. • The world’s formula is more work, more pay; less work, less pay. In God’s kingdom, grace trumps fair. • The world focuses on a worker’s accomplishment or lack thereof; in God’s kingdom, workers rest in the accomplishment Jesus and focus on his grace toward them. Set your heart so that your desires and efforts are in line with God’s grace and call. Those hired at periods in the day were idle, meaning that they were not working, but they were not lazy, isolated, or believing that they didn’t have something to offer. They just needed the opportunity. God is calling out through this passage to people, calling them to salvation and calling them to significant work. He is calling you.