I have been listening to a series of messages by Keith Moore. In one of his teachings today, I saw something new in a parable Jesus taught His disciples and wanted to share it. I am grateful to Brother Moore for his insight, and to the Holy Spirit for new revelation regarding this story.
The word “kingdom” is made up of two words… “king” which is; A sovereign; a prince; a ruler….and “dom” which denotes a jurisdiction. We see it in the word “domain” which means; Dominion; empire; territory governed, or under the government of a sovereign. A king, therefore, is one who rules over a certain jurisdiction. It would necessarily follow that, if a king has dominion over a certain realm, then his will would most certainly be manifested in that realm. So, we could describe the Kingdom of God as the realm in which God rules and has dominion, and where His will is being manifested.
We know from the Scriptures that without Faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), and the will of God is that His children live by Faith (Hebrews 10:38). Therefore, in order to operate in the Kingdom of God, and to have the Kingdom manifest through us, Faith is required.
The parable Jesus taught that I want to look at is found in Matthew 20:1-16. It is the parable of the owner of a vineyard who hired laborers for his vineyard at different times of the day. The first group of laborers were hired early in the morning. Verse 2 tells us, “And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day…” Now, don’t let the word “penny” throw you off. We don’t consider our penny today to be worth much, but according to Strong’s Concordance, the penny mentioned here was the principal silver coin (denarius) of the Roman empire. From the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, it would seem that a denarius was then the ordinary pay for a day’s wages. The wording of this verse indicates that the owner of the vineyard and these laborers negotiated and finally agreed on a wage they would be paid, in other words, they had a contract…..remember this as it will be important later on.
The parable goes on to say that the vineyard owner went on to hire other workers at the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and even 11th hour of the day (vs. 3-7). However, the story does not mention any negotiation of wages, or what they would be paid. The only thing they were told by the owner was, “Whatsoever is right, I will give you.”
At the end of the day the owner told his foreman, “Call the laborers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.” So the men who were hired last, at the 11th hour, were paid first, and we are told they received a FULL DAY’S PAY for working only one hour. I can only imagine how surprised these men were! I’m sure most of us would be very happy to work one hour a day and receive a full day’s pay as well! The parable doesn’t mention what the men who were hired at the 3rd, 6th, and 9th hours received, but based on what the men who were hired last were paid, we can rightly assume they received a full day’s pay as well…even though they too did not work all day.
Finally, when the men who were hired first, very early in the morning, came to receive their pay, the Bible tells us in Verse 10, “… they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.” These men began to murmur against the owner saying, “These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.” I wonder how many of us, if we were in the same position, would feel the same way? Too many people today feel like they are owed something. Instead of being grateful, they become offended when they think they should receive something they aren’t necessarily entitled to receive. The thing to remember, which I said would be important, is that these men had negotiated to work a certain length of time for an agreed upon wage….a contract! Did they have any right to assume they would be paid more than those hired after them? NO…they had agreed to the wage they were to be paid. The vineyard owner answered one of the men, “He replied to the one speaking for the rest, “Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?” (The Message Translation)
Now, I have read this parable numerous times, but what I saw new today was that…. the men who were hired at the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 11th hours went out to labor BY FAITH! Remember, the first ones hired had a contract. They were guaranteed they were going to get paid a certain wage for their labor. There was no faith involved in their going out to work. If the owner had not paid them according to their contract, then they would have had some recourse in the law system of the day.…. today it would be called a lawsuit.
However, the men hired later in the day were only told, “Whatsoever is right, I will give you.” These men had no guarantee they would be paid at all! If the owner decided not to pay them, there would be nothing they could do…they had no contract backing them up. How many of us today would be willing to do what these men did? Now, we can infer that these men may have known the kind of man the owner was…the Bible says he was a good (generous) man…or had heard something about his reputation, because they obviously had some faith that they would receive something in return for their labor. The main point I want to make here is, these men acted by faith and THEIR FAITH WAS REWARDED! The owner was not rewarding labor, he was rewarding faith.
In the first verse of Chapter 20, Jesus said, “For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard.” In the parable, the owner of the vineyard represents God, who needs laborers to go out and work his vineyard (the world) to help advance the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s sad to say, but there are those who are “working for God” today who believe God is obligated to pay them a wage just because of the work they are doing….the more work they do, the more money they think they should receive. If God called them to do something extra for the Kingdom, the first thing they would think is, “Am I going to get paid for this?” Only if there is a guarantee of reward will they go do what the Master calls them to do. There is no faith involved in this kind of thinking!
However, what pleases the Father, and what He rewards is FAITH. Faith is the great equalizer. People who love God, who have faith that He will take care of them, will not hesitate to go, to move, and to do what the Father calls them to do for His Kingdom. As we see in this parable, it’s not how much work one does…what matters is if the work that is done is done in faith. God will honor those that honor Him (1 Samuel 2:30), and one of the greatest ways we can honor Him is by believing that what He has promised, He is faithful to perform.
As 2 Corinthians 9:8 states, “And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].” (AMP) This is one reward we receive from our Father when we please Him by stepping out in faith!