Sermon notes from Bryant Wright this past Sunday. The scripture passage was Matthew 20:1-19. Jesus tells a parable foreshadowing his own death. A landowner needs extra workers for the harvest. The first set of workers agree to work all day (6 am to 6 pm) for the going rate of a day’s pay. At 9 am the landowner hires more workers, promising a fair wage for the 9 hours remaining. Same thing at noon. Late in the day the owner hires even more workers.
At the end of the day the landowner, being an honorable man, follows custom and instructs his foreman to pay the laborers, starting with the workers who had worked only a couple of hours. The owner says to pay them a full day’s wage. When the workers who had worked all day were only paid the wages they were promised – the same wages as the workers who had only worked a few hours – the full day workers were upset. They complained to the owner that it wasn’t fair.
V 13 the owner replied that he wasn’t doing them wrong – had they not agreed to work all day for that wage? The owner had kept his word and overpaid the others out of generosity, since it was his money to do with as he pleased.
V 16 the last shall be first, and the first shall be last. Jesus said it was tough for a rich man to get into heaven. Those who give up everything to follow Jesus would be great in the kingdom of heaven. The owner in the story represents Jesus. Like the owner searching for workers, Jesus reaches out to souls to follow Him and take part in the harvest. Those who aren’t harvesting / serving in the church all the time willingly come to church on Easter and Christmas – taking part in the last hours of the harvest.
We receive what we don’t deserve. The person who comes to Jesus on his deathbed receives the same reward as a lifetime servant, even though they don’t contribute to the kingdom of God. Is this fair?
V 17 Jesus prophesizes about his death a third time. Why then is Jesus generous, extending grace and mercy? On Palm Sunday Jesus is not fooled by the cheers of the crowd as He enters Jerusalem, knowing He will soon be turned over to the authorities. Like Jesus, every sinner faces death. Every sinner must pay the wages of his sins – but instead Jesus pays that wage for us AND gives us the reward of spending eternity with Him in heaven. Not because we deserve it, but because He loves us. Is that fair?
Is God fair? No – He is more than fair, giving us good things (eternal life) that we do not deserve.
The only one who can say God is not fair is Jesus. He’s the only one who gets the short end of the stick. But Jesus was of the same mind as God, only concerned about the harvest.
ETC: staff member retirement ceremony: speakers in video spoke so long they changed outfits two times. Gas money for the retiree’s RV – enough to drive 100 miles.
ETC: sang the elevator version of Matt Redman's 1000 Reasons.
ETC: now every time I go hear a singer I’m thinking whether I want to push my button to turn my chair around.