Sunday, March 21, 2010

Not Fair, That God!

Heard a sermon today, oh boy...

Not about 5,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire, either...

Some call it the "Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard" and some call it the "Parable of the Owner of the Vineyard." This is in Matthew 20, where the landowner goes out and hires workers, starting at 6 am, and every three hours or so hires a bunch more, with the final workers hired at 5 pm. The foreman is to give each laborer, regardless of when he was hired, a denarius. Well, at 6 pm, the foreman gives the 5 pm crew their denarius, all the way down the line until the 6 am crew is paid, and having worked all day getting the same wage is the folks who only worked an hour, complained. Not fair, they thought. However, these early birds did accept the contract, no?

Now God is the landowner. Christ is the foreman. The wage is eternal salvation. The land or vineyard is the world during this age (some call it the Church Age).

Now, who are the 6 am laborers? The 5 pm laborers? There could be several possibilities.

The 6 am folks are the disciples and apostles, the earliest followers of Christ. The 5 pm folks are believers of today (or tomorrow...depending on when God decides to bring on the "End Times.")

OR

The 6 am folks are folks who become Christians early in life, and then go out and evangelize or become preachers or Christian school teachers or missionaries--all right after their teen years or even in their teen years. Spoke to a young man in our home school group that plans to go to Abilene Christian University and become some sort of Christian youth group leader or something.

The 5 pm folks become Christians late in life or nearly on their deathbeds. They have dome virtually nothing to advance the cause of the Body of Christ, and yet they get the same reward as those who work nearly their whole lives to advance Christ.

OR

The 6 am folks are the early believers who are mostly Jews, before Paul goes out and begins the conversion of the Gentiles. The 5 pm folks are also...the Jews, who, at the very end of the millennial age, will have Christ and His Word written on their hearts, as prophesied in the Old Testament. Meanwhile, the 9 am, noon, and 3 pm workers are all us Gentile believers and the present day Messianic Jews.

It is not "the eleventh hour" yet, is it? Is this where the notion of "the eleventh hour" comes from? As in...at the eleventh hour, the crisis reached its head...

I'm not hear to debate whether the "eleventh hour" is "the rapture" or the end of the Church Age or the time of the Battle of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38 and Revelation 20, after Satan is loosed from the Bottomless Pit).

But I've heard some Christians who have been so for their entire lives believers in salvation through Christ only complain about doing Christ's work their entire lives and not getting more bang for the buck, so to speak, than those who became "Johnny Come Lately" believers. And I've even heard of preachers who do God's work complaining they get the same salvation as those who believe but never go further than attending Church on Sunday.

Doesn't seem fair, does it? But it "wasn't fair," either, that Christ had to be tortured, pillaried, and forced to carry a cross more massive than He was up some mountainside, and then nailed and crucified so that we could get that wage of salvation, now was it?

Thank you, God, that you don't play by human rules of "fairness," otherwise not a one of us would ever be saved!