February 20, 2019

God’s Free Gift

Matthew 19:30-20:16

“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.”

—  Matthew 20:1

In the city where I live, there’s a place where unemployed people gather every morning. It’s often called “Cash Corner.” The unemployed need some income to make ends meet, and they are willing to work. Construction managers drive their pickup trucks to Cash Corner and select from the unemployed when they need some additional workers for the day. The managers typically select the biggest and strongest first, hoping for an honest day’s work.

This is similar to the scene Jesus describes as he says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.” The surprising part of this story is that the landowner went back to select more workers—not once, not twice, but three more times. And the last time he went, there was only one hour of work left in the day! There was also not much promise of strength and ability in the last workers to be chosen.

Jesus wants us to know that no matter when you enter the kingdom, and no matter what your own strength and ability are, each person receives the same benefit at the end of the day. Jesus, the landowner, gives each of us the same gift of grace. And this is not something we can earn or pay off by working in God’s kingdom. The gift of grace is a true gift! And we are called to share God’s love and grace freely with others.

Thank you, Lord, for your gift of grace. May we accept it with gratitude for your amazing love, and may we learn to share it. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Dale Melenberg

Dale Melenberg is a second-career pastor. He received a theology degree through Calvin Theological Seminary and a doctorate of ministry degree at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is married to Gloria, and together they have raised three sons and are enjoying their four grandchildren. Growing up in an immigrant community shaped Dale’s view of family, church, and community in a profound way that continues to inform his life-view toward kingdom living with God, neighbors, and the creation.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!