Have you ever gone to a buffet? What about a salad bar? Well I must confess buffets really do not suit my fancy due to some germ paranoia my brain has concocted, but salad bars on the other hand . . . let’s just say I tend to forget about the potential spread of parasites, especially when it comes to a place like the Barn Restaurant. I love the Barn, but what I always struggle with is the endless amount of choices and combinations one can consume in just one trip up to the salad wagon. The same is also very true about chapter 20 in the book of Matthew. God reveals to us so many critical life lessons, truths, and glimpses into His heart that it can be hard to just pick out one thing to discuss. However, just like the chocolate pudding at the end of the salad line, there is certainly one thing that sticks out in this chapter – a servant’s spirit.
The individuals in “The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard” (vv.1-16) who had been working the longest during the day had a hard time understanding why it was fair that those who had been working far less than they had, earned the same pay and got paid sooner. Why should someone who has only worked an hour get paid the same as someone who has worked 10 hours? Why should the person who has worked 10 hours have to stand in line to wait to get paid behind the person who has only worked one? Servitude is something we can all struggle with. It’s hard to place others above ourselves. But this parable is a critical part of New Testament theology – the last will be first, and the first will be last. This is the concept that those who selflessly sacrifice in this world will be rewarded in the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus makes this calling to live a life of service to others explicit in verses 20-28 when He answers a question about how to gain His favor in heaven. Instead of demanding glory, riches, and praises in the world, Christ does what we have seen and will see Him do time and again throughout the gospels – proclaim the importance of sacrifice, pleading with this world to follow His lead to seek to serve others, and not one’s self.
Today ask yourself these questions:
- How am I serving those closest to me? What can I do to better serve my family, friends, spouse, coworkers, etc?
- How am I serving the lost and the broken? Is my life focused on making the gospel known?
- How am I serving the church? Where can I continue to grow in my service to the mission of Christ’s church.