Friday, 16 April, 2021
Title: How much is a day’s wages worth to you?

Material adapted by Pastor Cheong Cheng Cheung from a chapter of a book entitled “The Parables” by Gary Inrig. (Discovery House, 1991)

Matthew 20: 16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Most of us would be familiar with the parable of the vineyard workers. This story is not about labor-management relations, the equitableness of one’s wages, or even about rewards. It is simply about the attitude of my heart and your heart if we claim we are the Lord Jesus’ servants.

But what had prompted this parable? Read the dialogue between the disciples and Jesus at the end of Matthew 19 where Jesus said ‘Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.’ That sent up red flags and set the disciples’ pulses racing. All were astonished, till someone finally asked, ’Who then can be saved?’ Finally, Peter chipped in:

“We have left everything to follow You! What then will there be for us? ”

Behind “What’s in it for me?” there lurks a commercial spirit that misses the essence of Christian service. It is this attitude that the Lord addresses in the parable.

The parable goes like this. At 6:00 AM, a vineyard owner hired some day-labourers, agreed a fair wage and the workers started to work. At 9:00 AM, and then at 12:00 noon, again at 3:00 PM and finally at 5:00 PM the process was repeated. Workers were added and it was agreed they would all be paid at day’s end.

When the day was done, the workers were paid beginning with the one-hour workers. And they were astonished to discover they received a full day’s wage, a denarius. Obviously, they had not earned a day’s wage, because they had not worked a full day. But a family could not live on less than a denarius a day, so, out of generosity, the owner had paid them not what they deserved, but what they needed.

The news spread. The twelve-hour workers thought ”If they got one denarius for working one hour, we should get twelve!” Imagine their chagrin to discover their pay envelopes also contained one denarius! “It’s not fair! They only worked one hour and we, twelve full hours. How is it that we are not getting more?”

This was the vineyard owner’s response in verses 14 & 15.
‘I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or d͟o͟ y͟o͟u͟ b͟e͟g͟r͟u͟d͟g͟e͟ my generosity ?’_ (ESV)

’I want to give this last man the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my business? A͟r͟e͟ y͟o͟u͟ j͟e͟a͟l͟o͟u͟s͟ because I’m generous ?’ (CSB)

Ouch! Those questions hurt. And they hurt because they have hit home. The twelve-hour workers received exactly what they worked for. Their pay was absolutely fair. But the vineyard owner decided to pay the one-hour workers out of his generosity, not on the basis of fairness. In other words, it was never meant to be fair. And we have to admit the questions shamed us because we are wired like that. Like what? You might ask.

1) We have a c͟o͟m͟m͟e͟r͟c͟i͟a͟l͟ spirit within. We believe “pay equals work done.” But kingdom economics is very different. As God’s children, our service does not put us in His debt. Serve faithfully without calculating, minute by minute, how much you have done. If we leave the reward to Him, we will be overwhelmed by His generosity.

2) We also have a c͟o͟m͟p͟e͟t͟i͟t͟i͟v͟e͟ spirit. In the parable, those who worked most compared themselves to the ones who worked the least and ”they expected to receive more.” When their eyes focused on what others had received, they were unable to accept their own wages with joy. But when you focus on His grace, that all that He bestows, whether little or much, is totally undeserved, joy will fill your heart.

3) We often have a c͟o͟m͟p͟l͟a͟i͟n͟i͟n͟g͟, discontented spirit. ”Complain, grumble, protest” is our common lot Such an attitude is a sign of rebelliousness and an attack on the goodness and generosity of God Himself. Furthermore, it reveals the corruption of our hearts. ”Do you begrudge my generosity?” Who are we to complain about the ways of the eternally holy, just and righteous God?

Moreover, Jesus said before the parable:
Matt 19:30 ”But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
and ended it similarly: Matt 20:16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” thereby framing the parable in its proper context.

P͟e͟t͟e͟r͟ h͟a͟d͟ g͟o͟t͟ i͟t͟ a͟l͟l͟ w͟r͟o͟n͟g͟. His mistake was that he had counted the cost, no doubt, left his fishing nets behind and computed what might be his reward, but did not factor in the privilege of serving the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

What might be uppermost in your heart when you serve our great and gracious God?

My Prayer

Forgive me, Lord Jesus for serving with the wrong motives. Search my heart and remove all conceit from my being. Forgive my discontentment and murmuring spirit.

Thank you for your grace and generosity towards me.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

每日灵粮
星期五,2021年4月16日
标题:一天的工资值多少钱?
作者:张祯祥传道
翻译:巫惠如姐妹

本篇灵修是由张祯祥传道从盖瑞恩(Gary Inrig)1991 年的《明白耶稣的比喻》其中一章所改编的。

太20:16 “这样,那在后的将要在前,在前的将要在后了。”

葡萄园的比喻对许多人来说是耳熟能详。这个故事与劳动关系管理,薪酬公平,甚至报酬无关。如果我们声称自己是耶稣的仆人,这比喻只关乎你我的心态。

是什么促使了这个比喻?读一读马太福音第19章的结尾,门徒与耶稣之间的对话。耶稣说:“我实在告诉你们:财主进天国是难的。“ 这句活就如危险信号的红旗,使门徒心跳加速。所有人都感到惊讶,直到有人最终问,“这样谁能得救呢?“之后,彼得也问到:

“我们已经撇下所有的跟从你,将来我们要得什么呢?”

在“我有什么好处?” 的背后,隐藏着一种谋利的心态,而这完全忽视基督徒服侍的核心概念。这正是上帝在比喻中所要表达的。

比喻是这样的:早上六点,园主雇佣了一些工人,同意了合理的工资,他们就开始工作。先是上午九点钟,然后是正午,下午三点钟,最后是下午五点钟,这一过程不断重复。他增加工人,并同意在一天结束时支付工资。

一天结束后,做了一小时的工人开始领取工资。他们惊讶地发现,他们领到了整整一天的工资,也就是一银币。显然,他们不该挣一天的工资,因为他们没有工作一整天。但一个家庭不能一天只靠不到一银币过生活,所以出于慷慨,园主付给他们的不是他们应得的,而是他们所需要的。

消息传开了。做了十二小时的工人想: “如果他们工作一小时就得到一银币,我们就得得到十二银币!” 想象一下,当他们发现自己的工资信封里只有一银币时,他们有多懊恼吧!“这不公平!他们只工作一小时,而我们工作了整整十二小时。为什么我们没有得到更多?”

这是葡萄园主人在第14和15节中的答复:
“拿着你的工钱走吧。我给那后来的和你一样的工钱,是我愿意。难道我不可随意使用自己的钱吗?因为我慷慨,你就眼红吗?”

哎哟!这些问题令人感到痛苦, 而痛苦的原因是因为问得太中肯。做了十二个小时的工人得到的正是他们所该得的。他们的工资绝对合理。但园主决定慷慨施予那些只做了一小时的工人,绝不是基于公平。换句话说,这本来就不是公不公平的事。我们必须承认这些问题让我们感到羞愧因为我们就是会这样想。你可能会问,比如什么?

1)我们有图谋利益的心态。我们相信“薪酬等同于所完成的工作” 。 但天国的经济学却截然不同。作为上帝的孩子,我们的服侍不会让我们欠他的债。不分分秒秒地计算你做了多少,就是忠诚地服侍。如果我们把奖赏留给上帝管理,那他丰盛的恩典将充充足足地赏赐给我们。

2)我们也有竞争高下的心态。在这个比喻中,工作最多的人与工作最少的人相比,他们期望得到更多。当他们的目光聚焦在别人得到的东西上时,他们无法高兴地接受自己的工资。但当你专注于他的恩典时,他所赐予的一切,或多或少,你会意识到自己完全不配享受,喜乐就会填满你的心。

3)我们很常怨天怨地,牢骚满腹。“抱怨、发脾气、抗议”是我们共同的生活形态。这种态度是反叛的行为,是攻击上帝的良善和仁慈。此外,它还揭示了我们内心的腐败。“你对我的慷慨不满吗?” 我们是谁,竟敢抱怨永活、神圣、公正的上帝?

此外,耶稣在比喻前说:“然而,有许多在前的将要在后,在后的将要在前。”( 太 19:30 )
结尾也相同:“这样,那在后的将要在前,在前的将要在后了。” (太20:16)从而将比喻框定在恰当的语境中。

彼得完全搞错了。他的错误是,他毫无疑问地计算了代价,丢下渔网,计算了他可能得到的奖赏,但却没有考虑到服侍天国的万王之王,万主之主的特权。

当你服侍我们伟大又满有恩典的上帝时,你心中最重要的是什么?

我的祈祷:主耶稣,原谅我因为我服侍的用意是错的。鉴察我,抹去所有贪图虚浮的荣耀。原谅我心中的不满。 谢谢你所赐给我的恩典和恩慈。奉耶稣的名祷告,阿门。