Summary: A Labor Day message about being happy/joyful in all you do.
September 4, 2016
In Matthew 20 Jesus told a parable about workers in a vineyard. This parable teaches us some principles about the kingdom of God, and it also teaches us something about the kind of attitude we should have at work.
The key players in this parable are disgruntled workers. You may think that is a redundant term. In the movie Raising Arizona an FBI agent is interviewing a business owner who has been the victim of a crime. The FBI agent asked the owner ~ "Do you have any disgruntled employees?" The business owner says, "They're all disgruntled! I'm not running a daisy farm!"
A lot of employers feel that way -- all employees are terminally unhappy and perpetually disgruntled. And a lot of employees feel that way . . . disgruntled. In fact, people as a whole seem to suffer the same affliction: terminally unhappy, perpetually disgruntled.
Here's something to remember -- and it applies to your relationships, your job, your spiritual life, and every other area of life. Being perpetually disgruntled drains the energy out of your existence and robs you of the joy that should be yours. The most empowering thing you can do is get gruntled. (Is that a word? Isn't 'gruntled' the opposite of 'disgruntled'?) Regardless, you get my point: stop being disgruntled. It will transform your life.
Let's take a look at this parable in Matthew 20.
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.
Stop there for a moment. He agreed to pay them a denarius, which wasn't bad for a day's work. The men that were being hired were day-laborers -- they were on the bottom rung of the socio-economic ladder. They didn't have regular jobs, so every day they went to the marketplace hoping a business owner would hire them for a day. A denarius was a good day's pay; it was the same wage a Roman soldier received, so from the very beginning the landowner was offering a good and fair deal to his workers.
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.
This landowner seemed like a good guy, someone who would pay a fair day’s wage. Maybe if you started late, you would only receive a portion of a denarius, but that would be better than going home having received nothing.
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.’
A comment about the workers hired later in the day. Don't misinterpret their standing around. They weren't being idle or lazy. They were doing all they could to get hired. If they were lazy they would have gone home; instead, they stayed in the marketplace all day because they wanted to work.
In those days the workers were paid on a daily basis. So, at the end of each work day the workers would line up and they would receive their pay.
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.
Now understand, these guys worked the least! Instead of a 12 hour shift, they worked about 1 hour. So, when we think about it, they should have received a 1/12 partial payment, maybe 10% of a denarius. That would be fair. Instead they received an entire days pay! They must have been ecstatic! And remember the owner is a fair and just owner!
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.