Read John 2: 1-11


Read Matthew 20: 1-16

20:1   “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard.  2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

3   “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.  4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’  5 So they went.

 “He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing.  6 About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

7   “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

 “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

8   “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

9   “The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius.  10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius.  11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner.  12 ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13   “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?  14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you.  15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16   “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”



The parable of the workers in the vineyard, Matthew 20: 1-16, is my absolute favorite parable of Jesus. I get Jesus’ point… I really do. I agree wholeheartedly with what I think he is trying to say. I know the parable well and I know every time I start reading it how it is going to end. But every time I read it my first emotional response is still to agree with those grumbling workers. My first thought always is… “It isn’t fair.” Jesus gets me every time. And I need to gotten each and every time.


Michael Green writes this about the parable:

“Length of service and long hours of toil in the heat of the day constitute no claim on God and provide no reason why he should not be generous to those who have done less. All human merit shrivels before God’s burning, self-giving love. Grace, amazing grace, is the burden of this story. All are equally undeserving of so large a sum as a denarius a day. All are given it by the generosity of the employer. All are on the same level. The poor disciples, fishermen and tax collectors as they are, are welcomed by God along with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There are no rankings in the kingdom of God. Nobody can claim deserved membership of the kingdom. There is no place for personal pride, for contempt or jealousy, for there is no ground for any to question how this generous God handles the utterly undeserving. He is good. He sees that the one-hour workers would have no money for supper if they got paid for only one hour. In generosity he gives them what they need. Who is to complain at that?”


I think that Matthew 20: 1-16 partners well with John 2:1-11, because both remind us that through Christ, God has given each of us an incredible gift, an abundant gift. How we are going to respond to that gift is the real question. As we continue to serve God over the years, it get’s easy to forget that we are only wedding guests- not the ones in charge. We should just enjoy the wine we are given. We are just the hired workers… so why do we often feel like we deserve a say on who God rewards and doesn’t? Why can’t we just celebrate the wages we have received?!?


But it is so easy isn’t it? It is so easy to become a grumbler. Easy to get dissatisfied with our lot. Easy to compare what we have to what those around us have. Easy to stop celebrating the gifts God has given us.


May each of us find the abundant joy, found only in the Lord, again and again and again this season of Lent…..


We invite you to check out the following video on YouTube by the BibleProject to further explore what it might look like to have “abundant joy in the Lord.”


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