Third Wednesday in Lent 2011

“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.” ~ Matthew 20:1-16 (ESV)

Lord, I love that Jesus searches for the lost sheep and rejoices over the one more than the 99 who weren’t lost. But when I read this parable, I realize that someone who accepts the Lord moments before the end receives the same reward as those of us who have loved and served Him all our lives. That doesn’t seem fair, just as it doesn’t seem fair that the master paid all the laborers the same, whether they worked all day or one hour. Help me not begrudge Your generosity. Help me to rejoice that the sinner who is saved on his deathbed will enjoy life in Heaven with You for eternity just as I will. In the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

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