Sunday, 24 September 2017

What would the Trade Unions say about Jesus?


In Matthew 20:1-16 Jesus tells the story of a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. He went out again at 9 o'clock and found some more workers whom he sent to the vineyard. At noon and at 3 o'clock in the afternoon he did the same. And then again at 5 o'clock, he found more idle workers whom he sent to the vineyard.

At the end of the day he asked his manager to pay the last people first. Those that started at 5 o'clock got paid the normal daily wage. Those who started in the morning rubbed their hands with glee expecting more money. But they too got paid the same daily wage. Not surprisingly, they were angry.

What would the Trade Unions say about this if they existed at the time of Jesus? They would probably call a strike, and indeed ask for a wage increase for everyone.

But let's consider what Jesus is teaching us here.

The vineyard is of course Paradise. Heaven.

The landowner is God. Only He decides who is to enter Heaven. You and I have no say in the matter. We may think we know a lot about religion and Christianity but in reality we know nothing. Only God knows what is in the heart and minds of people and only He decides who is to enter Heaven.

Now about the workers who go to the vineyard at different times of the day. The different times represent when certain people get to know God and to follow His word.

Some people get to know God early in their lives. They are the first in the vineyard. They are probably born in a religious family and have been brought up as Christians and keep God's Word throughout their lives.

The others at 9 o'clock, noon and so on get to know and love God later in their lives.

The last ones at 5 o'clock are those who get to know God at the end of their lives. Just before they die. They truly repent and ask forgiveness and as they die they go to Heaven.

Now the temptation is to live a "St Augustine"  hedonistic lifestyle enjoying all that there is to enjoy in life and then, at the last minute, repent and go to Heaven.

But there is no guarantee that you will get the opportunity to repent before you die, is there? You might die suddenly and then ... bingo ... you're going down with no parachute.

And if you were to repent, God who sees deep within your soul, will know whether you have truly and genuinely repented, or whether you are cashing in an insurance policy at the last moment so you can enter Heaven. You can't fool God, you know!

So that's what it's all about this arriving at the vineyard at different times. And if you are one of those who arrived early, and got to know and love God as a child or when you were young, then your job here on earth is to be God's recruitment officer. By living the kind of life He would wish you to live you'd be an example that others would admire and wish to emulate. And because of you, more people would arrive at the vineyard, later than you maybe, but they'd arrive all the same.

What an honour for you to serve the Lord in this way.

12 comments:

  1. Hi Victor! Of course this was the reading for this Sunday, and our pastor said much of what you said here (which doesn't surprise me, my faith-filled friend). His big point was how we are jealous of God's great gifts to others. Why are we so green with envy at someone else's good fortune? Certainly God can do what he wants with his gifts and graces.

    Much better to be encouraging and supportive and glad to see God's generosity in others, not what we 'lack'. And we should all pray that every single soul on earth ever born comes into heaven, whether its a life of faith or a last minute conversion at the time of death!

    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. That's true, Ceil. We should be happy for all souls to enter Heaven, not be resentful as to when they did.

      God bless.

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  2. Excellent homily on today's Gospel reading Victor!

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  3. I am just thankful God allows me to be a part of His creation...

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  4. I am so thankful that God's Mercy extends all the way to the very end!! I pray that I can encourage others to follow Him, too, but I know that I fall short so often. And, then is when I am glad for His Grace to speak when I cannot! Thanks for a great post, Brother!

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    1. We all fall short from time to time, Bettie.

      God bless you.

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  5. I'm so thankful that it's God alone who reads our hearts, who knows our decisions, the intent behind them. Perhaps we'll be surprised at who we find in heaven ... and who's not there.

    Either way, we'll be too overwhelmed with the beauty and majesty of Christ to be looking around, taking attendance.

    Great post, Victor.

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    1. Good point Linda. I wonder who we will find in Heaven ...

      God bless you.

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  6. One of my favorite parables. I always think of my loved ones who have not professed Jesus. Lord, even in the 12th hour---let them come to You!
    Blessings, Victor!

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    1. All we can do is pray earnestly for our loved ones, Lulu.

      God bless you and yours.

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