Through parables, Jesus taught about the kingdom of heaven. Consider Matthew 20, where Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven to a landowner who hired laborers to work in his vineyard. We can divide this parable into three sections, beginning with the hirings (v.1-7), followed by the payments and complaints (v.8-12), and concluding with the answer and the lesson (v.13-16). Through this parable, Jesus teaches every person to be grateful for the generosity of God. Some worked in the field the entire day, while others joined nearly at its end, but the landowner rewarded every worker with the whole day’s payment. He was generous, as God is generous. Consider these three applications of the parable and its teaching:
The Jews thought themselves more valuable to God than all others and needed correction. God was about to welcome all nations through Jesus, and the Jews would struggle with that plan (see Acts 13:44-46). Jesus taught them to think better than the first workers.
We may also apply this teaching to Christians throughout history. Some were persecuted for their faith, while others lived in relative peace. God generously rewards all the faithful ones in Christ (see Romans 3:21-26). Do not measure your worth by whether you bear the heat of the day.
Thirdly, in every generation, some come to God early, and some arrive late. God forgives all who come to Him, obeying the gospel of Jesus (Acts 2:38-39). We must happily accept into fellowship the ones God adds to His church. Otherwise, we may find ourselves excluded by Him instead.
Do not let God’s generosity become a stumbling block for you. Instead, love Him for it and imitate His character by behaving graciously toward all you meet. Extend the gospel to the young and old, knowing their souls are precious to God (1 John 4:20).