Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

Don't you just love a good epiphany? It is especially engaging when a Bible message that you have heard over and over finally registers. I should be too embarrassed to admit this, but Jesus' parable of the workers in the vineyard suddenly became crystal clear to me during a child's puppet show. 

To quickly review, the parable told in Matthew 20 tells of a vineyard owner who hires laborers at an agreed price. At the end of the day, the employer paid all of his workers the same wages, even though some of them worked all day, some only half, and others only an hour. When the workers that labored all day complained, the employer made it very clear that they were paid what they had agreed on, and that he will give unto the last even as unto them.     

I believe the real reason that I didn't get this parable is because I always associated with the laborers that put in an entire day, so I didn't want to talk about it anymore. Now I love to talk about it! This is one of the best examples of scripture for those who think it is too late for them to be saved, and that the mess they've made is too big to clean up. God graciously forgives and gives everlasting life to people who repent even in their last breath. 
Betwixt the stirrup and the ground, Mercy I ask'd; mercy I found, written by William Camden  illustrates quite well how last minute this can be. A soldier, even in the time it takes to fall from his horse to his death on the ground can 'change his mind' and thus change his eternity.

Jesus Himself demonstrated last breath salvation when He told the thief on the cross next to Him that he would be with Him that day in Paradise. All we know about this criminal is that he committed some vile sin…and that moments before his death he asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His Kingdom. 

God wants all of us to be with him in paradise; that's why He makes it so easy. He gives us our whole life to make the right decision, to come to Him. Because this is so loving, I no longer feel resentment towards those who didn't work the entire day.  Additionally, I have yet to meet one person who regrets accepting their salvation early in life, and the deep rooted relationship they have with Christ because of it. 

There is one caveat…what if we die in our sleep? What if a metro bus hits us on our way to work? Too bad we don't know the hour of our death; we could have loads of fun up to it. Jesus taught us to number our days. In Revelation 3:3 He warns nonbelievers that He will come like a thief in the night. Personally, I'm not the gambling type, not even with a couple of bucks. The thought of gambling with my eternity gives me the chills. Since today could be our last, shouldn't we take Him up on His last call?

Please remember, BIBLE BAIT is written by a novice Bible study student, not a Bible scholar. If something doesn't look quite right to you, do some digging. One thing you won't get is bored!