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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’”—Matthew 20:8 (NKJV)
We’re progressing through a parable that Jesus gave in response to an attitude that Peter displayed concerning the rewards he and the other disciples should receive. The parable began with an owner of a vineyard contracting different groups of workers at different points during the day. Now the story shifts to the end of the day as the workers are paid.
Those who had worked the least amount were paid first, and the other workers observed they were paid a denarius (Matthew 20:9). Naturally, those who had worked longer assumed they would be paid more, but they, too, received a denarius. So they cried out to their employer, saying, “These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day” (Matthew 20:12 NKJV).
Those who worked the full day felt they had been treated unfairly because they were given the same amount as those who had worked only a fraction of the day. And so they did what we would have most likely done—they complained. It’s easy to understand why they complained. This scenario strikes a chord in us because we want everything to be fair: If one group of workers works more in comparison to another group, their wages should reflect as much.
But it’s this word, comparison, that’s the problem . . . not just in the parable but in us. We saw yesterday that there will be differences when it comes to God’s kingdom, which is good. Yet a problem arises when we allow differences to become distractions! We focus on the fact that someone else was hired at a different time, worked a different shift than we have. We start to make comparisons, and from these comparisons we draw conclusions and expectations. “I did more so I should get more!”
That’s a mistake we can’t afford to make as it pertains to our service in God’s kingdom. We must recognize differences without becoming distracted by them. And we do this by staying focused on the Master and what He has graciously given to us, not others.
DIG: Where did those who worked the longest go wrong in this parable?
DISCOVER: Why is it important to not become distracted by differences?
DO: How can you ensure you’re not being distracted? Make a list of things that have become distractions in your life and pray about how the Lord would have you reprioritize your time.
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.