Christianity 201

August 3, 2022

Grace Isn’t How the World Works

NIV.Matt.20.8 “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.’

“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon 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 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, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one 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.”

[If you’re unfamiliar with the section which precedes these verses, click here to start at verse one.]

A year ago we briefly visited the blog, Running to Him for the first time. Clicking the title which follows will take you to where this first appeared.

The Grace of the Parable

The parable Jesus used in Matthew 20:1-16 shows God’s outlandish grace towards us. People who follow Christ get the same reward for following Christ, the gift of eternal life with and of knowing Christ. In the parable that Jesus uses, the Kingdom of God is compared to workers in a field. Some worked all day and others were found later in the day, but they all got paid the same wage. Sounds a bit unfair, right?

Well let’s look at it in context, this story isn’t about workers in a field. It’s about the Kingdom of God. The fact is that if you’ve been a Christian your whole life or if you just started following Jesus today, you will be getting the same reward as the person who started following Jesus today.

Does that still sound unfair? If so, let’s take our scarcity mindset and throw it out the window for any conversation related to the presence of Jesus. Why? It’s because Jesus is not like us. Jesus is fully man, fully God. God operates outside of time and space. The presence of the Holy Spirit is INFINITE. Time and the limit of being present in only one place are not limits for Jesus. THERE IS ENOUGH JESUS TO GO AROUND!!

The Kingdom of God is not like the business or company you work for. The Kingdom of God is not bound by restraints of money or time limits. The Kingdom of God is bigger than all of those things. So much bigger that it’s hard for our minds to wrap around the reality of that statement.

With that being established, why would God give more of Himself to some people than to others? Those who believe in Jesus have FULL ACCESS to ALL of who He is. Not just partial access, there are no visiting hours. We can reach out at ANY TIME and ANY PLACE.

How unfair would it be for there to be levels of Christianity? Imagine Jesus saying, “Sorry, you’ve only been a Christian for a day. You can’t enter my Kingdom until you’ve been following me for at least a year.” That’s insane. The Jesus of Scripture, the Jesus I know, would NEVER do that.

The more that I think about it, Matthew 20:1-16 may not make sense when you think of it in regards to how this world works. However, having Kingdom context changes EVERYTHING. Kingdom context puts pride away. Kingdom context makes us realize that we are all on the same playing field before God. None of us are more Spiritual or Holy than the other. We are just blessed to have been called by God.


Our regular Thursday columnist, Clarke Dixon is now more than halfway through a 14-week sabbatical, but just days in he announced the completion of a book. You can read more about what’s inside Beautiful and Believable: The Reason for My Hope, by clicking this link. This would be a great book to give to someone who is considering Christianity but hasn’t made a decision. It contains material adapted from Clarke’s “Compelling” series which ran here a few years back.

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