Fast Devotional #9 – Work From Grace
By David Breen – General Manager of Training, Discovery Community Care
Matthew 20: 1-16
Have you ever worked in a vineyard pruning canes and preparing the vines for the next season? Man, it’s hard work! Your arms ache from the repetitive nature of the work of cutting and pulling over and over. Not to mention the heat of the late summer sun and being on your feet all day walking up and down rows of vines. If you want a gap year job or need some extra cash … think twice about it!
The parable Jesus tells is about some vineyard workers who agreed to a wage for their work. For some it was hard because they complained later in the day saying, “(we) have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day”. Those who worked hard all day and those who worked an hour at the end of the day were all paid the same. Now, if you know business management or have been employed, you are either saying, “This landowner was not a clever business man”, or “Wow, I would love to work for him and get paid a day’s wages for one hour!”
Here is the crux of the parable – it’s not about the money! It’s about the nature and character of God and our response to Him. The landowner (God, the Father) says, “I am not being unfair to you.” In other words, God’s grace is given equally to all who are invited to work in his vineyard (that is, his kingdom). It’s easy to think if we work longer, have been in church for years, served on more teams, given more time than others, donated more money, washed more dishes or played in more worship teams … we will get more of God’s gracious blessings than those who do not work as hard as us. Not so!
We work from grace, not for grace! Like Nehemiah, we respond to God and serve him because God is gracious to us. God has given us 100% of all the grace he is ever going to give us. As Paul said in Romans 8:32 “… will he not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” We have everything we need and more from our heavenly Father, so we can serve him in anything he asks with all our hearts (and not compare ourselves to other people) because we know he has blessed us abundantly.
Father, thank you for asking me to serve You and for giving me the grace to do it. Thank you for Your church and Your kingdom where I can serve You with the gifts You gave me. I can’t make You give me any more grace by working harder – You have given me everything I need through the Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to understand and live this way in all I do. Amen.