Archive for June 1st, 2017

Matthew 20

Matthew 20 begins with the story of a business owner who has need for laborers in his vineyard.  He goes out early to hire some and “after agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard”.  Throughout the day, he saw others in need of work and would tell them to head to his vineyard and join the work crew there.  That happened all day with the last being sent a mere hour before the day was to end.  When the evening came, the owner asked his foreman to “Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first”.

So the last to join the work crew came and were paid a denarius, which was what he offered to those who began at the start of the day.  “Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius”.  Can you see what’s coming?  Those famous words of ‘it’s not fair’.  “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and  the scorching heat”.  How can you do this to us.  They didn’t do nearly as much.  We have this mentality in society today that we get to define what fair is.  Life is not fair.  We have no right to expect fairness.

Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity? 16 So the last will be first, and the first last”.  The owner chose what to do with what was his.  That is his prerogative, not that of the workers.  Jesus again reminds us that in God’s plan, order and fairness are not determined by what man thinks.  This prepares the disciples for the reality that is coming.  “And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and  crucified, and he will be raised on the third day”.  There is nothing fair about what is coming to Jesus.  Here is God’s Son, about to be crucified.  A perfect man with no sin going to a sinners cross to pay for our sin.

Jesus goes on to remind them the real secret to effective leadership.  “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for  many”.  If we want to lead like Jesus, we have to serve like He did.  Jesus never worried about status or position or possession or place or fairness.  Jesus was about serving people where they were dealing with the issues they were dealing with.  He was great because He chose to serve always.  That’s how we maximize our effectiveness as a leader – we serve!

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