I’ve been meeting on Monday nights with a small group in conjunction with our pastor’s sermon series on the Christian toolbox. It’s a short-term small group and will last only three more weeks. But it has been great to get to know people I’ve known for a long time a lot better, and to hear other people’s perspectives on the scriptures that we hear on Sunday.
The past Monday one of our group members made a comment about our reading on grace. The passage we were studying was Matthew 20:1-16, the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Although the discussion primarily centered on how this is a parable about the grace of God’s Kingdom, there were a few side topics. The comment I want share started one of those side topics.
Matthew 20: 6-7 says:
About the eleventh hour he [the landowner] went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
The comment was about the answer of these eleventh-hour workers. No one had hired them. In other words, no one had told them about the opportunity to work in the landowner’s vineyard.
When it came time to be paid, the first workers hired grumbled because it was unfair that these eleventh-hour workers got the same pay. But how could they have come to work earlier if no one told them about the opportunity?
Those who come early to faith in Christ sometimes think it is unfair that someone who accepts Christ on their deathbed after a life of sin and debauchery receives the same grace. But perhaps that deathbed convert was never told about the opportunity to be a part of God’s kingdom until that late hour? Rather than grumble that it is unfair, shouldn’t we rather rejoice that they finally heard of this wonderful opportunity?
And perhaps we should look in the mirror and ask whether we bothered to tell them earlier. Makes me wonder who I’ve failed to tell, and to think about being more intentional about telling others about God’s grace in the future.