As someone who accepted Christ at a young age, many times my viewpoint is affected. This is a great blessing and privilege that I should consider the kindness of God to rescue me from sin and death so early on. By His Spirit in me, I made choices that honored Him that I would not have made otherwise.
Sometimes this can be a struggle when trying to connect with others who found Jesus later on in their lives. I so desire to relate to them. They might be learning Biblical principles and teachings that I learned as a child. They may just be discovering what it means to follow Christ daily, have a quiet time, and worship Him through song. However, I can learn so much from them! One lesson that I love is their beautiful understanding of God’s extraordinary grace.
Scripture teaches us in Matthew 20 that no matter the point of time when we accept Christ, He is going to extend the gracious reward of eternal life and personal relationship to each of us.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the workers on one denarius, he sent them into his vineyard for the day. - Matthew 20:1-2
These verses represent those who join the kingdom of God earlier in life. They spend much of their time serving God and doing His work on earth. As the “day” goes on and the Lord begins to invite others to join in the harvest, those “workers” naturally have less time to serve Him on earth. However, when we all get to Heaven, we will all receive the same reward of salvation.
Here is the honest problem. Those of us who have served Christ longer with our lives, who were invited in and accepted His invitation sooner can become like the early morning worker.
“When those who were hired about five came, they each received one denarius. So when the first ones came, they assumed they would get more, but they also received a denarius each. When they received it, they began to complain to the landowner: ‘These last men put in one hour, and you made them equal to us who bore the burden of the day’s work and the burning heat.’ - Matthew 20:9-12
God promised us His gift of eternal life. We will be given our 1 denarius, but who are we to deny access of the harvest to others who join in along the way. Yes our paths look different, yes we have been in the fields longer, but the Lord has given us such grace that we never earned and we should celebrate that He is doing this for others too.
“He replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I’m doing you no wrong. Didn’t you agree with me on a denarius? Take what’s yours and go. I want to give this last man the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with what is mine? Are you jealous because I’m generous?’
“So the last will be first, and the first last.” - Matthew 20:13-16
This is also seen in the Prodigal Son. The older brother remained with the Father, while the younger brother rejected Him and rebelled. When the younger son returned, the Father welcomed Him with open arms. The older brother was harsh and comparing his own works and choices to that of the younger brother.
We would do well to observe the actions of our Father, who gives generously and wishes that none perish.
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9
Jesus also shared His need for more harvesters in this world.
Then He said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest.” - Matthew 9:37-38
Our Landowner is not deceptive or unfair. He is gracious. Just as He promised 1 denarius (salvation) to the first hour workers, in His kindness gave 1 denarius (salvation) to all workers! If the day-long worker were grateful, how much more thankful will the 11th hour be appreciative of God’s unmerited grace.
“‘Son,’ he said to him, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” - Luke 15:31-32
How can we give extraordinary grace today through Christ? Who in your life needs grace and can be encouraged in their new journey as a harvester?
(All Bible references CSB)