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Summary: Workers hired at different times of day. Represent? 1. Time they were saved? 2. Amount of 'heat' they took? 3. Proportion of Loss? 4. Amount of Work they did? We complain God isn't being fair. God responds that He knows what's best!

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THE VINEYARD WORKER’S COMPLAINT

Mt. 20:1-16

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR: The salesman

1. Morris applied for a job at MEN’S WEARHOUSE. During his interview, Ben, the personnel manager asked him, "Where did you last work?"

2. "Joseph A Bank," replied Morris, proudly. "And how long did you work for them?" asked Ben. "A long time - 40 years in fact," replied Morris.

3. Ben was a bit startled by this response and said to Morris, "40 years, eh? So how old did you say you were?"

"I’m 51 years old," replied Morris.

4. "I don’t understand," says Ben. "If you’re 51, how come you say you worked for them for 40 years?"

Quick as a flash, Morris replied, "I put in a lot of overtime."

5. We’re going to read about some other workers and their long hours.

B. TEXT

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. 3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went. “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ 7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ 8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ 9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ 13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

C. THESIS

1. The details of the story are the sort of thing that could easily have happened in any Jewish village at the grape harvest. But there are a couple of surprises.

2. So we’re going to look at the basics of the parable, what the work difficulty represents, the concept of inequality, and God’s reply to our complaints.


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