In between a disappointing encounter with a rich young ruler in Matthew 19 and an audacious request by a helicopter parent that would make even today’s generation blush in Matthew 20, Jesus tells a parable about laborers in a vineyard. Perhaps I’m reading more into the passage than is intended because of some things I’m dealing with at home (namely, kids telling the truth but not the whole truth to keep from getting into trouble), but bear with me and see if there are some real-life parallels for you, as well.
A land owner goes out early in the morning to find workers for his vineyard and negotiates a day’s wages with the new hires. Not only that, but he also returns four more times to try to hire more workers throughout the day. Without being present in the story, it’s hard to tell exactly, but it sounds like he hired anyone who was willing to work each time he went.
The last time he went was about an hour before quitting time, and when he found some people hanging around, he asked why they weren’t working. They answered, “Because no one has hired us” (Matthew 20:7, ESV). Interesting. If my earlier interpretation is correct, then either these guys weren’t around the first three times the owner came by looking for workers, or they originally turned down the offer hoping for something better to come along.
I wonder if “Because no one has hired us” is the whole truth. Maybe they slept in till noon and didn’t want to admit their laziness, or perhaps they turned up their noses at doing such prickly manual labor as picking grapes until the day dragged on to the point where they realized they wouldn’t have money to feed their families if they didn’t swallow their pride and accept the work.
We don’t know the backstory, but I reckon we could still put ourselves into their shoes. There are times when God nudges our hearts to do his work, and we pretend not to hear the Spirit’s call because we’d rather do something else (or nothing at all). I encourage you to listen carefully and let God use you in his kingdom work; you won’t regret it.