Friday, March 12, 2010

What Group Are You Hangin' With?

As Jesus continues His teaching on true stewardship in Matthew Gospel after His encounter with "The Rich Young Ruler", we come to the Parable of the Landowner, Matthew 20:1-16. This parable reveals some very important foundational truths if believers are to be faithful and wise stewards of Christ.

We see that there are five groups of workers at different times of the day that the landowner employs to work in His field. How the various groups respond to the landowner before they go into the field to work is a key to understanding true stewardship. The first group who start work at 6 AM agree with the landowners terms of wages for their work, one denarius. However, looking at the groups that the landowner hired at 9 AM, 12 PM, 3 PM and 5 PM we see that the landowner makes no promise of a set wage, but only that he would give them "whatever is right", yet they still go into the field and work. What we see here is that the first group of workers agree for a set wage for their labors and the other four groups of workers trust that the landowner will be fair in return for their labors. This is very important.

Finally the end of the day comes and the workers come in from the field to receive their wage. However, the landowner reverses the order in which he pays the workers starting from the last group hired to the first. The first group of worker see that the other groups receive the same pay, a denarius. They supposed that they would receive more because they worked longer. Seeing that they received the same, a denarius, they complain to the landowner. The landowner bring their attention to his faithfulness of him honoring his agreement with them. He also makes them aware that it is lawful to do what he wishes with his own things and then concludes with, "Or is your eye evil because I an good?"

The focus of this parable concerns how believers see and approach Jesus Christ. Do you suppose that your works should be rewarded? Do you become angry when another believer seems to be more blessed than you even when you have worked longer or harder? Why did the first group respond so negatively? They thought that their "Works" would make a way for the landowner to bless them, whereas the other four groups trusted the landowner and got to experience the landowners abundant "Grace".

Jesus concludes by saying, "For many are called, but few are chosen". It takes faith to walk as faithful and wise steward of Jesus Christ, because it's not about money or possessions, nor is it about how much money or possessions that we give or don't give, it's about our relationship with the landowner. So, what group are you honestly hangin' with?

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