“’Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what
belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’
So the last will be first, and the first last.”
We should neither question nor be surprised at our Lord’s generosity toward undeserving mankind. We “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). None of our righteous deeds or good works can ever merit God’s salvation: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
God does not justify those who view themselves as godly people; he justifies those who freely confess their ungodliness and acknowledge their unworthiness: “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Rom. 4:5).
In the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matt. 20:1-16), Jesus makes a comparison that, on the surface, seems to cast God in a bad light. The vineyard keeper hired workers at different times of the day, promising to each of them a denarius at the end of the day. When it came time to pay the hired hands, the complaining began: “Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius” (v. 10). The land owner’s response was, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” (vv. 13-15). What follows is Jesus’ application: “So the last will be first, and the first last” (v. 16).
Salvation—both in this life and in the future life—is an expression of our God’s wonderful generosity. Regardless as to what stage in life we trusted in the Lord Jesus, and no matter how long and hard his servants have worked in his “vineyard,” we will all be abundantly rewarded according to his sovereign wisdom and pleasure on that Day.
How could we ever grumble at receiving such a gift?
Taken from . . .
Renewed by the Spirit: 365 Daily Meditations
by Ralph I. Tilley
copyright © 2016 Ralph I. Tilley
(May be copied for noncommercial purposes;
not to exceed 500 copies.)