Matthew 20:8-16 (NKJV):
8 "So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, 'Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.'
9 And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius.
10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius.
11 And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner,
12 saying,'These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.'
13 But he answered one of them and said, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?
14 Takewhat is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?'
16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen."
This is always such a privilege when God shows me the scriptures and opens them up in a special way; I really feel honored and blessed when God does that with me. Holy Spirit showed me this parable of the laborers in the vineyard awhile back from a different perspective, and it could be found in my article "When Doubts Creep In", but today He showed it to me from a different angle again. This is why I love so much the Word of God: it is alive and speaks to our hearts when we seek to know the Lord personally.
Since I continue to ponder on my desire to see the precious out of the vile and pray about all my situations in that way (Jeremiah 15:19), God showed me this parable to remind that there are many called, but few chosen. It has nothing to do with some of us being born under a "lucky star",but it has to do with the motivations of our hearts. Throughout Jesus` teachings, we can clearly see the way He tried to direct human`s understanding that the life itself is no gain if the heart is lost to the world. The ultimate meaning of the life is gone if one doesn`t live for the Lord. It all comes down to this:
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works (Matthew 16:24-27 NKJV).
What`s the point in one`s life if it`s not for the Lord because in the end it would be lost? That`s why there are many who are called, but few chosen because although God calls everyone to follow Him, but only few choose to actually follow through with that.
So I`d like to share the reasons as to why many are called, but few chosen from what God showed me in this parable of the vineyard laborers in Matthew 20:
First of all, the wages that Jesus refers to in this parable is His grace, mercy, and justification before our Heavenly Father. We are all given the same wage of Jesus` blood that He shed on the cross when He offered Himself in a sacrifice for humanity, so we could claim that payment and labor for our Father. But in the end, we all receive the same wages of His love and grace.
Therefore, if we labor for our Father knowingly that we were saved and bought by the steep price of the precious blood of Jesus, than we ought to work with full recognition and realization that we don`t deserve anything ourselves, but everything we own belongs to the Father. If we give our hearts to the Lord truly, than we ought to produce the vivid fruit of our spiritual growth and maturity for the others to see God`s work in our lives and through us.
This is precisely what these laborers didn`t have, and there are so many people who claim to be "saved", when in reality they only care about the wages and not about the work itself that they perform for the Lord. For some reason, we think that we are entitled to some honor and glory if we serve the Lord, when we already received our wages when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. If that`s really the case, than we shouldn`t worry about who gets paid first and who gets paid last; or who gets paid the same wage as us even though we worked longer years for the Lord.
It all comes down to what`s in your heart? What`s the real motivation in your life, in your service to the Lord? Do you help in Sunday school, and you expect to see public reward and recognition for the work that you perform, or do you do that diligently and quietly without the desire to be noticed?
Another important point God showed me today was His encouragement to those who get saved recently compared to those who`s been saved for longer years. God rewards those who are "babes in Christ" when serving Him to encourage them to continue to do the work. For those who`ve been serving the Lord longer, the expectations are higher because God expects us to produce fruits of the repentance bringing spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity should not care whether you are first or last, but it should only care whether your life is pleasing to the Lord and what you`re doing is pleasing to the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly-mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?(1 Corinthians 3:1-3 NIV)
Paul distinguishes here between those who got recently saved (infants in Christ) who still have some worldly perspectives that haven`t been changed through the spiritual walk with the Lord, and between those who "live by the Spirit", who are mature in the Lord and have a tried faith that produces fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Sometimes when one gets saved, the person would get quick prayer response from the Lord as an encouragement, but those who are mature in Christ, they face tougher trials which serve the purpose of their further spiritual growth. When we don`t respond to those trials in the appropriate manner, it serves the purpose for the Lord of discern the levels of our growth, but it also serves to discern those who are real and genuine in Christ and those who have false motivations.
Spiritual maturity should be producing obvious fruits where things like murmuring and envy should be eliminated through the authentic change of heart. The laborers started murmuring and had envy in their hearts because the wages were the same across the board, and they felt entitled to more money compare to those who worked less time than them (verses 11-12).
This translates directly into our personal relationships with the Lord and how well do we know Him face to face? Personal relationships one way or another always produce spiritual maturity and growth in faith. I changed my perception about many things throughout my life through my personal relationships with the Lord, so I can now say that I count it all as loss just like Paul testifies in Philippians 3:8 (NLJV):
8Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
This is why there are only few chosen, because not everybody chooses to count it all as loss and follow Jesus by giving up everything else even if it cost them lives. How much are you willing to give up for the Lord? That will define whether you are chosen for the Lord or not because in the end He will distinguish between those who are called (since everyone is called), and those who are chosen. It all begins with the heart.
Lastly, the Lord always tests the substance of our hearts to discern between those who are true and those who fake. I believe when Jesus told this parable of the laborers, He meant to get across the point that when we labor for the Father, we wouldn`t care whether we are first or last, whether we got paid at all and saw the public recognition.
One of the reasons why I keep this blog anonymous is because I want all the glory to go to God, and only to God. I don`t want any public recognition. If reading my testimonies and articles, get you thinking about the Lord and make you research His word, than I am blessed to know that God is using me to serve Him. I don`t care about the wages. I only care that He is using me for His glory.
Where is your heart today? What`s more important, where is your growth today if you claim to be a believer? What`s the point living a life that in the end would be lost to this world? I`ve had it all, but I chose to lose it, so I could gain the ultimate life with the Lord; my greatest reward is my inheritance in Heaven with my Father. I want to be a chosen one and not just among those who are called. Like Paul wrote to Timothy in one of his epistles:
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work (2 Timothy 20-21 NKJV).
I want to be that vessel in honor that God would use for much work. There is no greater joy than seeing His hand opening scriptures to me and showing me the treasures of His heart to me. I share everything I have with Him, and He does the same in return with me. That`s a love relationship that could only be possible through the true surrender to Jesus.
I challenge you today to examine your heart and search out what is it that you are living for? Is it more money, better career, larger house, fancier car, longer vacation, luxurious travel? Whatever it is that you esteem higher than picking up the cross and following Jesus would not be worth it in the end because it would waste your life away. My life now is a lot more rewarding, despite the trials, because God`s hand is so close on me and so protective, that I wonder sometimes if there is anything bigger than the love I already experience from the Lord. I can truly say that His hand guides me and protects me, and no harm comes near me despite the Satan's attempts to bring me down. I encourage you to seek the Lord and His will first, so He could use you and choose you to manifest His glory.