That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’ “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’ “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last “(Matthew 20:8-16 – NLT)
Here in Matthew 20, Jesus gave the parable of the vineyard workers. This parable illustrates the importance of faithfulness and of God’s fairness. There are no greater or lesser persons in God’s family. There are simply those that are faithful to do what the Father called them to do.
In the parable a vineyard owner needed workers for the day. He hired people at the beginning of the day, maybe around 6 AM, agreeing to pay them, let’s say $150.00 a day (a day’s wage). Seeing he needed more workers and noticing people standing around looking for work, he hired more workers at 9 AM and they agreed to work for a $150.00 a day.
The vineyard owner found workers again at noon and at 3 PM, and they too agreed to work for $150.00 for the day. Once more, the owner hired workers at 5 PM, one hour before the end of the workday. And they too were hired for $150.00 for the day’s work.
At the end of the day, the vineyard owner paid each of the workers the $150.00 that he agreed to pay them when he hired them. The workers that were hired at 6 am became indignant with the owner, because he seemed so unfair. The workers who were hired in the morning hours did the most work, enduring the grueling heat of the day, and were paid the same wage as the person who was hired at 5 PM. That seems so unfair!
Jesus’ point was that every person in the family of God is valuable. We don’t get rewarded for the amount of kingdom work we do, we get rewarded for our faithfulness to do what the Father has called us to do. That way, each person is just as valuable in the kingdom of God as any other.
Internationally known and acclaimed Billy Graham will get the same reward as the unknown lady who faithfully prays at home for his ministry every day. The janitor, the secretary, the volunteer in the children’s ministry, the worship leader, the usher, the parking lot attendant, the sound tech, the intercessor, will all get the same reward as the pastor in the church as longs as each one does his job and is faithful to do what the Lord has called him to do.
For that reason, there is no “jockeying for position” in the family of God. Our faithfulness is rewarded, not our amount of work or our position. Each person is a valuable as the next.
Decide today to be a person that is faithful. Don’t envy another person’s position or call. You may not be seen or heard by men, but the Father sees your faithful heart and will reward you for doing what he called you to do!