It is the story of the landowner who hired day laborers early in the morning for the usual daily wage. The landowner went back at 9am, noon and 3pm and hired more laborers and offered to pay them “whatever is right.” At 5pm, only one hour before quitting time, he saw others standing around and asking them, “Why are you idle all day?” and they replied, “No one will hire us.” So the landowner hired them as well. At evening, the manager was instructed to pay the laborers, beginning with the last and then to the first. The last hired received the usual daily wage as did all the others. But the first hired were disgruntled, expecting more because they had worked all day in the sun, when the “11th-hour” laborers had only worked one hour. But the landowner reminded them that he had paid them what he had promised and what they had agreed to, saying, “Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:1-15)
The Rev. Leigh Spruill in his Sunday sermon suggested that this is a difficult passage as we want to be rewarded on our merits, we want to be noticed for our works, and we want others who accomplish less to receive less. But we aren’t fully living in God’s kingdom until we are able to not begrudge God’s generosity, and accept that He loves everyone as much as he loves us. It doesn’t matter whether we are first-hour or eleventh-hour laborers, God’s love is the same.
Whether we come to know Jesus at an early time in our life, or at the 11-th hour, God can use us. We need to stand eager and be ready to accept God’s call. It is our call, and there is no excuse for comparing ourselves to others and the work which they are called to do.
Jesus is generous and says, “I love you, I forgive you, and I can use you.” And he says it to everyone.
Blessings, my friend,