Though I have read this passage several times over the last 11 years of being a Christian, for some reason it stuck out to me more today...maybe because of the people God has put into my life; maybe due to the different circumstances I have found myself in lately; maybe because I am reading at noon and not at midnight and can comprehend it more; maybe because I am at a place of maturity in my faith to be able to see it as such? Regardless of the reason, I am glad that I see it today.
“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. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 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?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 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.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 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.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”
God is so gracious and merciful beyond my ability to understand! God so loves His children that regardless of when one gives their life to Him, regardless of what he/she has done in their life, He accepts them with His arms and heart wide open. To know that our God is so good, not reserving His love for only the fullest of faith or the smallest of sinners, but for everyone who gives their life to him, whether early in life or late, is something that is beyond me.
I hate to admit, but must, that I have at times felt at times like those workers that grumbled, not necessarily in this way, but others. I have felt that I deserved more, or better; what a wonderful, simple reminder that I do not. I am humbled by these words today, and I pray I continue to be until the day I see my God.
One word comes to mind: Beautiful.