“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
“About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.
“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’” …
The life of a day-laborer must be rooted in faith. Imagine not knowing when you wake up in the morning where you will work or if you will be hired to work at all. Imagine worrying that if no one hires you that day, you won’t have enough money to buy food for your family. When Jesus taught us to pray for “daily bread,” He was thinking about people like the vineyard workers in this parable, who don’t know whether each new day will bring abundance or want. That sort of life must require a lot of faith.
Most of us give little thought to where our next meal will come from. We may have a hard time relating to the concept of praying for daily bread or hoping each morning to be given a job. But we can relate to being a worker. We know what it’s like to be rewarded for productive labor, whether it’s in school or in a factory, out in a farm field or in a business office. Our culture values hard work and productivity, and we know that gainful employment is how we provide for our families. Jesus valued hard work too. Many of his parables, like this one, focus on the lives of workers, servants, farmers and merchants. God created us with the ability to be productive. He gives us strength to work. He blesses the labor of our hands. Jesus understood that it’s good for people to work, whether to earn income, to care for your family or to complete your education.
As we read the rest of this parable, we will see that it teaches us about God’s grace, but let’s not overlook how God, represented in the story by the vineyard owner, calls us to lead productive lives. Some are still growing and learning. Some hold steady jobs. Some care for their families. Some own or manage businesses. Some have retired from careers and found news ways to be productive. Whatever work you do each day, remember that your labors fulfill, in large measure, God’s calling and purpose for your life.
Father, help me to work hard and contribute to the good of Your world. Thank You for giving me skill, strength and motivation to labor for Your glory and for the good of people I love. Bless my work, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian