Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Few Positive Changes To The Blog

Greetings and Godspeed!

I wanted to let you know of a few addition to the blog. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of this page, you will see that you can subscribe to Scripture Demystified with your e-mail, so you will always know when the blog is updated with a new entry. I do not collect these e-mails, and will never sell them to any 3rd party. 

Also, you'll see where you can search the blog for subjects or topics, which will make it easier for you to find something, especially as the blog get larger and larger. 

And you can also see how many page views we've received, as well, for those curious about how fast we have grown, by the Grace of God! 

Keep an eye open for more additions as time goes on, and as always, thank you for reading Scripture Demystified!!!! 

God bless!

Founder of Scripture Demystified

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard


May the Word of the Lord be in our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts.

Come Holy Spirit....

I've wanted to speak on this parable ever since it was part of our bible reading during adult Sunday School in my old church many, many years ago, and the debate ended up way off course. Here is the parable:


Matthew 20:1-16

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Workers in a Vineyard
 1As Jesus was telling what the kingdom of heaven would be like, he said:
   Early one morning a man went out to hire some workers for his vineyard. 2After he had agreed to pay them the usual amount for a day's work, he sent them off to his vineyard.
    3About nine that morning, the man saw some other people standing in the market with nothing to do. 4He said he would pay them what was fair, if they would work in his vineyard. 5So they went.
   At noon and again about three in the afternoon he returned to the market. And each time he made the same agreement with others who were loafing around with nothing to do.
    6Finally, about five in the afternoon the man went back and found some others standing there. He asked them, "Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?"
    7"Because no one has hired us," they answered. Then he told them to go work in his vineyard.
    8That evening the owner of the vineyard told the man in charge of the workers to call them in and give them their money. He also told the man to begin with the ones who were hired last. 9When the workers arrived, the ones who had been hired at five in the afternoon were given a full day's pay.
    10The workers who had been hired first thought they would be given more than the others. But when they were given the same, 11they began complaining to the owner of the vineyard. 12They said, "The ones who were hired last worked for only one hour. But you paid them the same that you did us. And we worked in the hot sun all day long!"
    13The owner answered one of them, "Friend, I didn't cheat you. I paid you exactly what we agreed on. 14Take your money now and go! What business is it of yours if I want to pay them the same that I paid you? 15Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Why should you be jealous, if I want to be generous?"
    16Jesus then said, "So it is. Everyone who is now first will be last, and everyone who is last will be first." 

What the members of my adult Sunday School class all those years ago started debating, was whether or not it was fair to pay their employees the same regardless of how long they worked. They did not think that was fair at all (thereby unintentionally mimicking the reaction of the workers in the Parable.) Basically, they took the parable literally (and parables, but their own design, cannot be taken literally if you are to understand the meaning of them) and thought it was a teaching on labor laws. However, this is not the case.

The workers in the parable represent those who come to believe in Christ and serve Him. They are His laborers. Some people will serve the Lord their entire lives, some will come to Him somewhere in the middle, and some will only come to believe and serve Him in their final years. 

The point of the parable, is that no matter when you start serving the Lord, your reward will be the same, eternal salvation. Why? Because his salvation and mercy is His to give as He sees fit, and He is saying, what does it concern us if He is merciful and generous? Why should we be jealous of that fact? 

The fact that our sins are forgiven at all should cause us joy, for non of us our worthy. But alas, some will be jealous when they find out that the "late comers" receive the same eternal rewards as those who have served the Lord for many years. Is this fair?

Well, first, as God says, that is not our concern, and we received the reward that was promised us, anyways. Second,  God is a merciful God, fortunately for us, as I said above. The fact that God would equally reward  those who came to serve Him late in life magnifies His grace and His mercy. His grace is shown more clearly than ever when He shows mercy on all who come to believe in Him, regardless of what they have done before that moment (so long as they repent of their sins and serve Him, of course.) 

Now, in response to this parable I have heard some people say: "Well I might as well wait until I am old to serve the Lord and just do what I want in the meantime! Why bother now if the reward is the same?"

There are two problems with this thinking:

One, God knows what your plan is and He is not one to be taken advantage of. Do you really think you can somehow find a loophole and trick Him?

Second, do you know when you are going to die? Were you promised you would live to be a ripe, old age? Were you guaranteed a deathbed to make last minute conversions and repentances on? Of course not! You could die while reading this. Or later today. Or tomorrow. And it could be instant. 

We are not here to do the bare minimum to get ourselves into heaven. That is hardly following the #1 Commandment to "Love and Serve the Lord with all our hearts." God's mercy is sufficient for all of us, praise Him for that. And that very mercy and love means that "last minute" servants can receive their heavenly reward just as equally as those of us who have served the Lord for longer periods of time. That mercy is God's to give as He pleases. 

Instead of being jealous of others at the end of our lives, let's spend our time serving the Lord in His vineyard, the world, so that we may receive our reward, and then rejoice when we see anyone come to serve the Lord, no matter how late they arrive. They are one of us, then, aren't they?