March 04, 2024

A Day's Wage

Devotion for the week...

I worked at Tim Horton’s (a Canadian coffee and donut chain) for a few summers in university and our hours worked were, of course, carefully tracked. While I loved the evenings we weren’t busy and I got sent home early, I didn’t love that my next pay would be smaller because of it. Not that it ever motivated me to say I wouldn’t leave early, though!
Jesus told a parable about a man who owned a vineyard. He went out early one morning and hired some people to work for the day. "He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work" (Matthew 20:2). Later, he went out again and hired some more people, "telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day" (v. 4). Then he went out two more times and hired people for the day. Finally, an hour before quitting time, he hired a few more people. 
When the work was done for the day, the workers went to the foreman for their pay, starting with those who had been hired last. They were given a full day’s wage, which made those who had been hired first think they would be paid more. When they weren’t, they got angry and "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.'" (vv. 11-12).
I’ve always found the owner’s answer interesting: "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?" (vv. 13-15).
Since this is a parable, it’s not about money at all, but rather about the kingdom of God. Someone who serves God only briefly before their death doesn’t get less salvation than a person who served Him for decades (remember the thief on the cross next to Jesus?). This makes perfect sense, since it’s not our work that earns our salvation, but His generosity that bestows it upon us.
The question is, though, are we jealous of people who will receive the same salvation we received? What about if they serve God only for a short while? Or what about if they were horrible people, who did horrible things? How do we feel about them receiving the same salvation? 
Because of His mercy and love for us, God gives us all the same salvation |
Because of His mercy and love for us, God gives us all the same salvation, regardless of how long we serve Him or what we did before accepting Jesus as Savior. We have to be careful not to feel we deserve more if we have served Him longer.

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