Matthew 20:1-16

We are called happy people when we can worship in the house of God, for many are searching for happiness but have not found one. What kind of happiness that the Word of God offered? Revelation 1:3 says, Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

We need to know that our goal in listening the Word of God is not only until our head to add knowledge, but has to touch our heart then put in into practice (hand) in daily life and ministry to reach an ultimate happiness.  


how long have we listened to the Word of God, ten, hundred or even thousand times? The problem is, has the Word fallen on the good soil and born fruit a hundred, sixty or thirtyfold? Or, does the Word fall on the heart like the road where some birds (referring to Satan) come and eat them up? Or, does the Word fall on the rocky soil, immediately springs up, but then withers away because it ha no depth of soil? Or the seeds fall among thorns, and the thorns come and choke them up (Matthew 13: 1-8)?

What was Apostle Pauls admonition related to service? 1 Timothy 4: 7-8 says, Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.  Your godliness (service) determines the success of both your life while living on earth, since you still need clothes, shelter and food, because godliness covers the eternal live and gives strength in facing troubles and worlds shock that will happen later (Hebrews 12: 26).

Related to service and ministry, Jesus gave a parable about laborers in the vineyard written in the gospel of Matthew 20: 1-16. Here are some things we can learn from the parable:

Do not procrastinate to serve the Lord (Matthew 20: 1-6)

 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard....And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place... Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing.... And about the eleventh hour he went out and found....

Chances are given five times for laborers of the vineyard. Strangely, the market is supposed to be full of activities where people selling and buying, but He found group of people loitering throughout the day. This shows that the group is sluggard who like to procrastinate their chances.

Apostle Paul said that people who do not make every minute count are fools (Ephesians 5: 15-17). And to the lazy people are exhorted to learn from ants who, though have no leaders, store up food during harvest season (Proverbs 6:6-8). Psalmist also reminds us to number our days so we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalms 90: 12).


we are supposed to use the time God still grants us to faithfully serve Him.

Serve the Lord with commitment and agreement (verse 2)

There is an agreement between the landowner and the laborers regarding a denarius for a days wage to work in his vineyard. In business world, a commitment between employee and employer to stick to an employment contract is needed. Otherwise, sanction and fine will be imposed.

This also avoids job hoppers. So is in spiritual work, a ministry requires a commitment and responsibility. You should not do it just as you like it. If someone is called to be a servant of the Lord, he must have a clear commitment before he enters ministry field. If not, it is quite likely that he will return to his former life and leave the ministry.

In the era of the Law, a person who wanted to be a priest (who serve) must follow the regulations by giving sacrifice:

 ─ a bull as a sin offering (Exodus 29: 140)

 ─ the one ram as a burnt offering (verses 15-18)

 ─ the other ram as a consecration offering (verses 19-22)

However, in the new testament era, all sacrifices and offerings according to the Law have been fulfilled in the sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 10: 14). Also, the agreement for a days wage is a denarius (a Romans Caesar pictorial gold coin, weighs ± 4,25g). It was used as means of payment in trade.

Apparently a denarius a day is considerably high for a worker. And let us not forget that someone who serves the Lord also receives a wage, as written in Matthew 10: 29, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My names sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.

Application: we are suppose to be faithful and not draw back from the ministry regardless the circumstances as the commitment we vowed to the Lord.

. Serve the Lord without grumbling and envy (verses 11-15)

The first hired complain to the landowner because they received as little as the later hired.

What is the response of the landowner? “Is your eye envious because I am generous?”  Be careful! Envying is one of the deeds of the flesh that may cause us to lose our part in the kingdom of heaven (Galatians 5: 19-21).

Evidently, the grumbling and envious laborers worked based on wage only instead of mercy/grace. Remember! The Lord gives everything including the salvation not because of our good deed, but only because of His grace (Ephesians 2: 8).

Implication: if someone serves the Lord with grumbling and envying because seeing others blessing, that person will be left behind. He will never enter the kingdom of heaven. On the contrary, we must serve as unworthy slaves, who only do what we ought to do (Luke 17: 10). Thus, always give thanks to the Lord for every blessing (no matter how little it may seem) we receive as His provision upon your life.

Do you want to experience the true happiness? Be diligent in service and hearing the Word, and apply it in your life. Serve the Lord with great commitment without delaying the time and the chance. Also, do not grumble, moreover envy, that He will pour out His wage blessings both on this earth and  for the time to come, that is the eternal life with Him. Amen.

Junior Pastor Markus Budi Rahardjo
February 19th, 2017


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