Kingdom Recognition

In the parable of the workers, the master hired workers throughout the day, but only with the first did he agree on a wage, a denarius. With the rest, he just told them he would pay them, but didn’t specify an amount. At the end of the day, he began paying the workers, beginning with those hired last and gave them a denarius as well. Those hired first felt cheated because they didn’t get more. However, the master reminded them that they had agreed to work for a denarius, so why should they be upset because he decided to be generous with those who were hired later in the day?

Here Jesus addressed our tendency to compare ourselves with one another, rather than accepting what we have been given. I believe this parable reveals the heart of God toward all. A denarius was considered a day’s wages. A worker would take his wage home and feed his family with what he earned that day. Many workers literally lived hand to mouth; they immediately spent what they earned that day to survive the day. Those who worked the entire day and received a denarius got the normal rate, but those who worked part of the day received a gift; they got more, because they only worked part of a day. Many of us when we read Jesus’ parable of the workers identify with those who were hired in the morning, because we view our work as providing a living for ourselves. However, since Jesus is describing the Kingdom of Heaven, we should identify with those hired throughout the day and receive a gift at the end of the day. None of us deserve the Kingdom of Heaven, we receive it as a gift. Even those who walk with Jesus their entire lives or most of their lives deserve nothing more than those who acknowledge Jesus at the end of their life.

Jesus shows us that in the Kingdom of Heaven the first are last and the last are first, because there is no hierarchy in the Kingdom of Heaven. We are all brothers and sisters. In the world we have to earn much of what we receive, or at least we think we do. Some are in authority over others and receive more because of the concept that more responsibility should receive a greater compensation. However, in the Kingdom of Heaven there is no need for that model, because the Kingdom of Heaven is similar to children in a family where all have their needs met, not based on effort and accomplishment, but on relationship. In the Kingdom of Heaven compensation is not the motivating factor to our efforts, love is.

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