What is the meaning of the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
This lengthy parable is found only in the gospel of Matthew. Jesus tells the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) in response to Peter's question in Matthew 19:27: "We have lef...

July 01 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

9aa51e4b447252291b959c696fb96539 400x400 Jeremiah Kaaya Pastor at Springs of Power Church, Teacher by professional
The parable of the laborers in the vineyard is recorded in Matthew 20:1-16. While revealing some of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, Jesus used lots of parables to make it easy to understand. The language was only figurative but aimed at making a point. There are lots of lessons we draw out this parable among which are the following; 

The Kingdom of God is open to all
Everybody is a potential child and servant of God
The Kingdom of God needs servants
God rewards on purpose not length of time or magnitude of worker
It is in God's power to reward
It reveals the human selfishness and the wish for self aggrandizement

The Kingdom of God is open to all
By this parable, we learn that no one is excluded from the Kingdom of God. The Pharisees on many occasions tried to own Jesus. They wanted to carry on with a classified society (Matthew 9:10-13). Yet such a notion would have made Jesus' mission meaningless. For in Matthew 9:13, Jesus says; ".....For I am not come to call the righteous but sinners unto repentance". For in this parable, the sinners represent those who were idle, while the righteous represent the Pharisees and whoever who assume self righteousness. Entry to God's Kingdom is therefore exclusive to acceptance of Jesus and not anything else.

Everybody is a potential child and servant of God.
The laborers who were the first to be hired had falsely felt that by being the first to be hired, the project would be exclusive to them. They falsely believed that by being the first to be hired, they should have had a say on who and how they join the workforce and how they are to be paid. Their murmuring upon payment had been on the notion of false assumption of co-ownership (Matthew 20:10-11). Thus the owner of the vineyard replied that it was in his powers to choose who to pay what because he solely owned the vineyard (Matthew 20:14-15). 

The Kingdom of God needs servants 
As humans, the human instinct which is present in us will always drive us selfishly. For we tend to view the service of God in terms of gaining ourselves fame and riches. We thus love to own it. Yet it never ends with us. There is always work in the house of God. Church leaders should therefore create allowance for Church members to serve God in their areas of calling. For there is still plenty of work in the house of God (Matthew 9:35-38). It is therefore about God's work being done, not self promotion. Additionally, everybody has a role to play in the Kingdom of God. There should never be idleness (Matthew 20:3).

God rewards on purpose not length of time or magnitude of worker
The first laborers in the vine yard did not complain on having fulfilled their purpose while others failed. No. For their complaint was on the length of the time worked and the magnitude of work or the distance covered. Yet having worked longer than the rest, or having covered a wider distance does not tell about the fulfillment of the purpose. For before we engage in anything, we must first understand what the purpose is. Reward therefore is on fulfilling the purpose not seeming to have done much. 

It is in God's power to reward
Avoid doing anything in the name of God but with the intention to please people. For people can only appreciate, but they can't reward. God only is the rewarder and He decides how to reward depending on the purpose fulfilled (Colossians 3:23-24), (Romans 2:6).

It reveals the human selfishness and the wish for self aggrandizement
The first laborers based their complaint not on having been paid less than agreed, but on the desire to seem to earn more than their colleagues who had come later. This simply reveals the human instinct which drives all to forcefully place themselves above the rest. How we wish to dot ourselves everywhere. For they had chosen to mind other laborers' case in place of theirs. Mind if you have accomplished your task than to seek to be seen everywhere. Be satisfied to have fulfilled your task than to have had others fail.

March 05 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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