“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace … Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, … ‘You go into the vineyard too.'” (Matthew 20:1-3a, 5b, 6a, 7b)
Jesus tells this parable not long before His suffering and death to save us all. That might explain why there’s so much urgency in the story. Very soon now Jesus will put the responsibility for telling others about Him in our hands.
The owner of the vineyard starts hiring at dawn. But then he goes back for more workers at 9 a.m.—and at 12 noon—and again at 3 p.m. Even at 5 p.m. just before quitting time, he’s still at it! This is a man who really wants to get his harvest in. Not tomorrow, not next week—today.
God is urgent about gathering people into His kingdom. He wants us forgiven and brought home to Him as soon as possible. He will not be happy with any delay. He doesn’t want any of His harvest to be lost.
And so Jesus tells the story looking at the believers around Him. They are His workers, and He is sending them out—He is sending us out—to bring in the rest of the harvest. He has already saved us, and now He honors us by giving us work to do in His own saving mission.
Prayer: Lord, send me. Amen.
* Have you ever told anyone about Jesus?
* If not, ask Him to show you the first baby step in doing this joyful work.
* If so, how did it go? How do you feel about it?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on March 10, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved