I am currently journeying through the study Live Deeply: A Study in the Parables of Jesus, by Lenya Heitzig and Penny Rose. This week I am studying the “Parable of the Laborers,” found in Matthew 20:1-16. This parable focuses on a wealthy landowner and his treatment of the servants who work in his vineyard.
Jesus teaches that at the end of the work day, the landowner faithfully paid his servants what he promised them. Those who started working early in the morning received one denarius. Those who started working at 5pm also received one denarius. The early morning workers became upset by this and felt the landowner treated them unfairly (verses 9-12).
What do you think?
I admit that every time I read this parable, I tend to view the situation from the perspective of the servants who started working early in the morning. Given my type-A, competitive nature, I would be shocked and frustrated right along with them! However, in one section of the study, Lenya and Penny presented this parable through the eyes of the servants that started working at 5pm.
What I missed about the servants chosen at 5pm was this: they did not miss out earlier in the day because they were home napping. No, these same servants were standing around in the village market all day long waiting to be picked (verses 6-7). They were passed over at 9am, 12pm and again at 3pm. They waited for whatever work might come their way. They probably felt somewhat useless, insignificant and discouraged by 4 or 4:30pm.
I can relate to this, for it feels as if I am in the marketplace and it is 4:30pm …
I have been feeling discouraged and defeated in several areas of my life and ministry lately. I do believe that some of it is due to spiritual warfare, but regardless, I know I need to remain standing in the marketplace; waiting on God.
As I mentioned above, the landowner returned one more time to the marketplace at 5pm. The workers left standing in the marketplace were finally chosen. The landowner paid them one denarius or a full day’s wage (verse 9).
Imagine their shock. Imagine how this made them feel. The discouraged became the delighted. The landowner believed that each worker in his vineyard was worthy of what he promised.
As hard as it was to pray and study last week, God is honoring my efforts to seek Him. He used this parable to remind me that He sees me here waiting in the marketplace for Him. He knows my dreams and sees the willingness and weariness of my heart.
When He returns for more workers will He find me waiting, or will I leave the market and remain in my home of discouragement?
I am choosing to remain in the marketplace. If you feel unnoticed or discouraged, and tired of watching others get picked instead of you, remember this parable. Will you continue to remain in the marketplace with me?
I pray so, for our God is fair and generous. No matter how bleak or unfair your circumstances appear, remember this:
“God is never late; He is always right on time. The difficulty is that we try to force Him onto our earthly timetable instead of adjusting to His heavenly schedule. If you are in a season of idleness, do no lose heart. Jesus, like the landowner, seeks servants to bring in the harvest (Matthew 9:37-38) … He never stops searching for faithful laborers … It’s never too late to begin working for Him, and the wages He promises are immeasurable (John 4:36).”
~ From Live Deeply, page 100
Continue to stand, wait and be willing to serve Him. Though you may feel it is 4:30pm, remember that 5pm is just around the corner. The Landowner loves you and created you to bear fruit that will last.
He is coming …
My prayer for us today:
Father God, forgive our selfishness and impatience. Please give us eyes of faith to see things from a Heavenly perspective. We need You to help us to trust and wait upon You. Your timing is perfect and Your love for us is unending. We are willing to serve You and we thank You for the immeasurable wages You have given us through the saving work of Your Son, Jesus. In His mighty name we pray, Amen.