As we look at the parable of the vineyard workers (Matt. 20), we see a parable that applies to life, work, and salvation. The viewpoint of the workers is similar to what we see today. But would a different perspective help our outlook?
I have met many young adults who wish that they could just go back to high school. The question is, “Why?” They remember it as a time when they were provided for while focusing on themselves and their friends. There seems to be little excitement to figuring out what God has created them to do, or to be productive and make a difference in the world.
The workers in the parable get the opportunity to work all day. There is a wage that is set, and they get paid their full wages. For this, they should be grateful. But are they working for the opportunity to be used and useful, or just for the pay? When others are employed later on, they don’t get the opportunities of the first ones, but they get paid the same.
Those who work longer are frustrated because they expected more. Yet they have been treated fairly. They have gotten what they expected, and if they were paid first, they probably wouldn’t have known any different. And they got to be productive longer. They didn’t have to waste half their day.
I have also heard it said from those who have been followers of Christ since they were little, “How is it that someone can get to live their lives full of sin and get to accept Christ in the end of their lives and still go to heaven when we have had to obey Jesus our whole lives?”
And once again, the point is missed.
It is a perception that the sins of this world bring joy, and that the pleasures of those sins make life better. Somehow, Christians think that they have missed out. “O that I could have gotten that opportunity?”
A view like this misses the fact that with this lifestyle, they are absent from a relationship with Jesus. Many are caught up in addictions that they will then struggle with their whole lives. They miss opportunities to work for the King of kings. Often they are riddled with guilt and shame, something that can continue even once they’ve gotten right with God.
When the Lord steps in and offers us to be in a relationship with Him, and gives us the opportunity to work for Him, this should be considered a great privilege. We get to serve the Creator of the universe. We get to learn from the One who put everything in motion. We get to work and sacrifice for the One who gave up everything to be a sacrifice for us!
O what an incredible gift we have been given… what an incredible opportunity we have. And in this, He allows us to do what we were created to do, and to be who He created us to be.