Very few passages speak more powerfully to the grace God has shown us than this parable of the laborers. “After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, [the landowner] sent them into his vineyard” (20:2). “About the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace” (20:3), and he also found laborers at the sixth, ninth, and eleventh hours and hired them to work. Some worked all day, others fewer hours. Those last explained their lack of work: “Because no one has hired us” (20:7). What did the landowner say to them? “You go into the vineyard, too” (20:7). Here’s the thing, not only did the landowner show concern to those who had been rejected by others but, at the end of the day, he paid them the same wages as those who had worked all day. The complaints of the first laborers were met with, “’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’” (20:14-16).
Not according to our works does Jesus bless us but according to his generosity and grace! And that generosity and grace are so much more than any works we could ever do! Aren’t you glad that our Savior deals with us thusly?
Plenteous grace with thee is found,
grace to cover all my sin;
let the healing streams abound;
make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art;
freely let me take of thee;
spring thou up within my heart,
rise to all eternity. -- Charles Wesley (1740)