Matthew 20:1-4 For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place; and to them he said, You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went.
Jesus taught us to pray, and what he taught us is important. Without Jesus our prayers would not be very much different than a Christmas list to Santa Claus, filled with things we want, and generally lacking in the things we need. So we learned in the Lord's Prayer, our daily bread, which includes everything we need to sustain this body and life, is only one small part, for while there is one petition for physical things, there are 3 petitions regarding spiritual blessings and 3 petitions that we might be delivered from evil. Sometimes this is easy to forget.
We confess that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ, so that no one can boast about their works - and yet every time works comes up, the biggest temptation there is, is to think that what we do some how earns for us a reward with God. And that's part of the reason Jesus told this parable, to remind them that salvation is not about our works, and only about Jesus work, which we receive by grace through faith.
Salvation is always about what God does. As we wait on the brink of war, there are many who are frightened, many who don't know what the future will be like, many who don't know where to turn - so - do you trust in the government, do you trust in superior fire power, do you trust in homeland security, there are many things that promise protection, many things that as said to keep you safe - but God is the only thing that not only promises all this, but gives us salivation in Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross, and Jesus gives us forgiveness of sins, peace with God and eternal life, just as certainly as he gives us each day our daily bread.
That's the good news, and its central to the story - its important that we remember that God wants all people to be saved - but the salvation God has worked for us is not just about heaven, its not just pie in the sky by and by. In a very real sense salvation is here already, and if you've got the eyes to see - that's what the parable is about. Its about God's plan for our lives, in heaven and here and now. Here's what I mean, sometimes we talk about faith as God planting seed that grows to eternal life - and if there is sowing, then at the right time, there is also the harvest - and God's plan for us, is to invite us to work with him in the harvest of souls.
There are some people who live their lives looking forward to retirement, and they imagine that then they will be able to do all the things they every imagined - and while there may be nothing wrong with retirement, there is something wrong with living every day in misery in the hopes that someday it will be better. Then we're no better than children who imagine that once they get out of school they can do what they want.
Ecclesiastes 2:24 There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God;
God wants us to see that as Christians our life on earth is about being fishers of men, or in this case, laborers in the vineyard - you see, while there are many things that one can do, the only things that last, are the things that we do in Christ. For heaven and earth are passing away, and those who do not know Jesus will perish - but we have been given good news to share which will bring to those who hear and believe, life and salvation.
There are some who will be saved only at the last minute, God wants us to rejoice with him that they are saved. And we can do that, if we forget about what we've done, and keep remembering what Jesus has done, because it was Jesus sacrifice that purchased and won us from sins death and the devil - which gives to us forgiveness of sins, life and salvation - which prepares for us, not only a mansion in heaven, but also gives us each day the opportunity to work with God sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.