Labors in The Vineyard

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.”—Matthew 20:1 (NKJV)

If you’ve been following along in our journey through the parables of Jesus, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of them were prompted by something His adversaries did. But the parable we now come to is different in that it was prompted by something the disciples did. 

In particular, it was Peter’s statement that he and the other disciples had forsaken everything to follow Jesus—a statement followed by a question of how much reward this would net them. And beneath all of this, there was an undercurrent of entitlement as Peter assumed he and the others would be receiving a lot for their sacrifices! 

Going forward, we need to understand the parable’s trigger is a sense of entitlement, which is inconsistent with the way God operates. So Jesus addresses this attitude through the parable that will occupy our focus for the next few days. Here’s how it begins: “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.’ . . . And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, . . . ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive’” (Matthew 20:2-7 NKJV).

A lot of detail is given to us here, but the one simple truth that we need to take away from this passage as it relates to God’s kingdom is this: There are going to be differences. Notice how the “thread of difference” runs throughout the story. There are different groups of laborers that are contracted at different times. 

There are going to be differences in the kingdom of God. After all, diversity among God’s people serves as one of its greatest witnesses. God made us different—and that’s a great thing! 

May we remember this, not only as we progress through this parable, but as we progress through our lives, side by side with those who are different from us.

DIG: What truth about God’s kingdom does this parable introduce us to?

DISCOVER: Why are people different, and how would God want us to react?

DO: How do you typically respond to the dynamic of difference?  

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.