Disgruntled Kingdom Servants
Many Called – Few Chosen
Sunday May 1, 2022
Scripture To Consider:
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went.”
“Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’”
“So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’”
“But he answered one of them, and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” Matthew 20.1-16
Something To Consider:
The story of the contract day laborers was a common occurrence in that day and age. In some countries the custom is still continued especially during harvest season. Could Jesus have been talking about the future spiritual harvest that was and is to come to every generation?
In Matthew 9.37, Jesus said; “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Could this be a reminder to all potential spiritual laborers? As Christian laborers we are few. Also as Christian laborers we are tempted to become disgruntled or weary in our service unto the Lord. I wish it were not the case, but it is human nature.
But we, as true born-again believers in Jesus, we now have been granted a new spiritual nature. But, which are we nurturing, our old human nature, or our newly received spiritual nature due to our personally maintained relationship to and in Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God? Let us not answer too quickly!
The apostle Paul instructed all true believers in Romans 12.1, by stating; “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” How is that spiritual exercise going in our lives? It is not something we can simply take or leave. Paul received this commanding instruction directly from God. Yes, the life of a true Christian is spiritually demanding. And yet, in Christ, we can do all things!
Something Else To Consider:
In this story men were hired after the landowner agreed with the laborers that they would work all day for a denarius, as if the laborers themselves had negotiated their wage. The landowner, probably concerned about harvesting all his grapes in time before bad weather set in, went in search for more workers. Time and time again he hired more workers, promising only to pay them what was right to those just happy to work.
As true believers in Jesus, we are to be found looking unto Jesus, as if day laborers in His vast harvest field of this world. And when we do, we become like His early disciples in that we too learn many valuable lessons of a lifetime to be learned. And yet, there are times when we take our eyes off of Jesus, as did Peter when walking upon the water, and we, as did Peter, we begin to sink under the weight of our human nature.
Whether due to fatigue, sickness, resentment, or sin, resting on our human nature we fall short of presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, holy, and acceptable to God, in the service of God. When that happens, we too become disgruntled kingdom servants. Or am I the only person this happens to? I cannot be the only person on planet earth that allows their human nature to win over their newly granted God-given spiritual nature!
Something More To Consider:
When time came for payment, in our Scripture to consider, the contracted servants became disgruntled because the landowner was very generous to the late arriving workers. In other words, all who work in the kingdom of God are equal and are equally rewarded. Our next lesson of a lifetime will reveal to us and to Jesus’ early disciples how easy it is to miss the true meaning of this parable.
And though this is a parable, it is an account that is played out over and over again in the lives of real believers in Christ. We have mentioned some of the earthly and human reasons why we become disgruntled kingdom servants. Now let us discuss what we can do to correct the problem.
In verse 2 of Romans chapter 12, Paul followed up with some much needed spiritual advice, by saying; “And do not be conformed to this world [or this world’s corrupt system], but be transformed by the renewing of your [and my] mind, that you [that we] may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
A Few Final Words:
Yes, I know, it sounds easier said than done! As of the posting of this lesson of a lifetime, I will have been a born-again believer in Jesus forty-four years and joyfully counting. And there are still seasons of my life that I fail in the rightly presenting my fleshly body, attitudes, and actions in a living and holy sacrificial manner. And I greatly regret it the moment it occurs, and for hours and sometimes days and even weeks later!
But, as I confess my sin, my short coming, my not counting it all joy, and my not continuing to be an acceptable living sacrifice, and my having become a much-disgruntled kingdom servant; God, who is faithful in and through Jesus Christ, forgives me of my sin. And at that very moment, I become a new creature once again in Christ, even after forty-four, fifty-four, or sixty-four years, God willing, of attempting to maintain my kingdom servant status.
As spiritual servants in God’s vast vineyard of this earth, we should refrain from becoming disgruntled by late arriving saints. But rather, let us rejoice that our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Let us be glad that we have been called and if we rightly respond, then we have been chosen by God to be servants in the kingdom of God. For according to Jesus, “Many are called, but few chosen.”
Our Father in heaven, keep us from becoming disgruntled by those late arrival serving saints into the kingdom of God. But rather, teach us to rejoice always, and to reflect the love of God in Christ Jesus! In Him Always, Amen!