‘For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard…’ (Matthew 20:1-16)
For many this is one of the greatest parables that Jesus told and it certainly contains so much within it – enough for a series of sermons. Yet at the same time it teaches us some basic truths about God’s love for us in a simple and straightforward way.
Those listening to Jesus speak these words at the time may have detected a hint of a warning in what Jesus said. His disciples had been privileged to have been chosen by Jesus to follow Him and shared a relationship with Him that others did not. However, that didn’t make them special. The fact that they had this relationship with Jesus before others didn’t entitle them to any place of honour or any greater love – we are all precious and loved by the Lord equally, no matter when we come into a relationship with Him. A valuable lesson for us all today!
However, over and above this, what this parable teaches us is of the great comfort and compassion of God. No matter who we are, no matter our background, no matter when we confess the Lord as our Saviour – we are all equally loved by God and the generosity of that love is never ending. It is a love that is poured upon us freely day after day after day.
But this parable also teaches us another great truth that we often forget. We cannot earn God’s love nor do we deserve His comfort and compassion. What God gives to us is offered through love. We are not saved by our own merits, by what we do for God or His Church – salvation is not a reward given to us because of the way we try to live out our faith. It is offered through grace. Again another valuable lesson!