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Laborers in the Vineyard

By Pastor John Mateos Ong and Pastora Monique Lopez Ong


Matthew 20:1-16

“For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work. “At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing. “At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’ “They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’ “The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’ “That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’ “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’ “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”



-He hired laborers for a denarii early in the morning.

-He hired laborers again in the 3rd hour.

-He hired laborers again in the 6th and 9th hour.

-Another batch or laborers were hired in the 11th hour.

-Those he hired were not doing anything.

-The laborers were paid from last to first.

-The first hired expected to be paid more and were surprised to see that everybody got the same amount.

-The owner explained that he was fair to them because he gave them what they agreed on.

Why did Jesus share this?

At the end of Matthew 19, Peter asked a question that went, “Behold, we have left everything and followed you! What then will there be left for us?” (Matt. 19:27) And Jesus said, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Matthew‬ ‭19:28-30‬) God’s rewards are unfathomable. Nobody deserves it. Whatever you gave up, God said He will give back a hundred times more. And more. You will not only enjoy it here on earth but eternity as well.

  1. You will be paid (v.8) - Do not question whether you will be paid or not. God takes pleasure in giving, just like a parent who brings something home for his child. However, the difference is that the payment is from the last to the first. In the economy of heaven, this is what will happen. On earth, it is first come, first served. In heaven, it is “first come, first to serve.” God owns everything. His stockroom is unlimited. Just go all out knowing that at the right time, you will be paid.

  2. Be content (v. 14-15) - The master is very generous and the workers got what they signed up for. The problem is when people compare. There is a saying that goes, “Comparison is the greatest killer of discontentment.” (1Timothy 6:6-12) Everybody got what they agreed to work for, but when they looked at the amount of work and found out that everybody got the same irregardless of that, there goes the rub. Flee from greed of money. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. This is the fight for the good fight of faith.

  3. The pay won’t be fair (v. 11-12) - When you get your reward, you will be surprised. The rewards you get on earth is not your final reward. If God is just fair to everybody, remember that Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” So imagine getting a check that says “death,” even if you committed one sin only. But to those who accept Him as their personal Lord and Savior, He gets their pay slip of death and gives you what is due, becoming His son, sitting in heaven with Him, judging the 12 tribes of Israel and all. That is called grace.

Matthew 19:29 says “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” Everyone who gave up anything for the Lord will Receive 100 times much more and inherit eternal life. Anything you spend for the Lord is not wasted. It is a true investment that bears so much and creates 100 times more.

Imagine if you give all for the kingdom of God. Jesus says that everything you do for me, you will get back 100 times back. Fair is getting what you put in while grace is getting what Jesus puts in. Every time you serve, it will not be fair. It will be beyond fair. When you are called, do not doubt. Run!

1 Corinthians 15:15 says “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Note the word “fully.” You know how it will all end. 100 times more.

Remember where you were when God called and found you. You were just standing idle. Everything you were doing, even if you were doing it well, if you do not have Jesus, they have no eternal value and are useless.

The owner, who was very hard-working, went on a hiring spree, looking for workers not only in the morning, in the afternoon, and even when the day was coming to an end. Harvest season is only for a certain time. Eventually, it will not be harvest season anymore.

We all have been hired at the 11th hour. Everything is served to us on a silver platter. We have it easy. But the ones who were hired first, on the 3rd, 6th and 9th hour paid the price. But even so, we can expect to receive the full reward. Stop wasting time. It is time to give Jesus everything. Sacrifice so that those who need Jesus can receive Him.

Will it be worth it? How will the rewards be distributed? Of course! It will be given back 100 times more. The economy of heaven is not the same as on earth’s. Heaven’s rewards do not depend on how important your work is but on how faithful you have been to what God has called you to do. If you are being called, have you said yes to His call? Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in Him. Nothing we did could ever earn His salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ.” You were saved by faith in God who treats you so much better than you could ever deserve. How are you going to respond to God’s call now?

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