Matthew 20:1 the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
Over the past several months we have focused on who God is, how God wants all men to be saved, and how he shows grace and mercy to us in Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for our sins to pay our debt, and to offer to us forgiveness for all our sins. We know that we have been redeemed not with silver or gold, but with the holy precious blood and the innocent suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. So what does this mean?
Since our lives have been changed, since our sins have been forgiven, since through Baptism we have been made a new creation, since we know that a place is prepared for us in heaven - how should we live our lives now, what is the center, what is the focus, what is the purpose, what is important - does God have a plan for our lives? Yes, God does have a plan for our lives.
Every time we pray the Lord's Prayer, we pray that God's will be done - not because God needs our prayer to accomplish his will - God certainly has the power to do whatever he wants, but we pray that God's will be done among us - that is, that we do not resist, rebel or fight against God, for we are praying that God's will be done among us. We want to know God's will for our lives, and we want to live our lives doing what God has called us in Christ to do. The problem is that we often loose focus on what it is that God has called us to do - we know that we have been called to follow our Savior, we know we are part of something that seeks to make disciples of all nations - but what does that mean, and how does it apply to us, today?
We often look at life as something that is at conflict with faith - as though we need to choose which is more important, what gets done first - and often life does seem that way, that is not God's plan for our life - rather that is sin and temptation which seek to pull us from God. God's plan is that we can have life and faith together. We call this vocation, and quite simply it works this way, we seek to do all things to the glory of God. If we are called to be a student, we study, and work so that all things may be done to the glory of God - which means we don't have to like being a student, we don't have to like all our teachers - but we do our best because this is our life, and because God means it for our good, therefore we do not grumble about it, but receive it as a blessing.
This is true in whatever state we find ourselves, whether we are child our parent, young or old, employee or employer - we do all things to the glory of God, and we give thanks to God that he has given us whatever it is that we have been given to do, and we do it gladly to the glory of God. Why? Because our good example can often be more powerful a witness to the hope we have in Christ than many words.
This is what our text wants us to understand. Not only does God give us our daily bread, not only does God have a plan for our lives, but God has given us each day the things we do - and it is good for us to know that there is a greater purpose, one that often we do not see, or even realize. Often they are not grand or important, they are usually not the things found in history books, rather it is in the little things of life, day after day, year after year, done to the glory of God, this is what Christian life is mostly about. And there is a contentment that comes when you can know in your heart, whether you are mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow, doing your homework, in whatever you do - knowing that God has called you to this work, and that it is something you can do to the glory of God.
Here is why this is important. God never promised that anything in this world would be fair, for although God made the world perfect, the world has been changed much as a result of sin. What God does promise is that he will give us each day what we need. Often this happens because God has given us the jobs that we have to do. And when we seek to do them to the glory of God, when we know it part of God's plan for our lives, we can find satisfaction in the labor of our hands, and joy in our lives. But if we face our work with grumbling, then all we will see is how unfair life is and how all that we do is futile and vanity.
In our text God calls workers to the harvest, its good work, you can see you are accomplishing something, and it brings you your daily bread. Some people work all day, and others work only an hour, each receive the same, each receive what they need - and some of those who have worked all day think it is unfair, and that they should receive more. Greed and covetousness are real temptations, and they do not see the gift they have been given in the work they have been given, or the satisfaction of doing things to the glory of God.