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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Called Early (Thought for the Day Part 35)

Gospel reading: Matthew 20:1-16

Regarding this parable of the workers in the vineyard, all the commentaries I have seen through the years speak of the generosity of the landowner, in the face of seeming injustice in paying all workers the same wage, whatever amount of time they spent working. This parable speaks about the same gift of salvation that all who obey God will receive, whether one was good from childhood or just turned to God at his deathbed (consider the good thief on the cross). “Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (v.16). Note that this is essentially the same truth given in Matthew 19:30, and the parable is sandwiched between these similar sayings.

This is what I want to focus on: that the early workers, instead of complaining, should in fact praise and glorify and thank God for being called earlier. How many times has a person who undergoes renewal in Christ said, “How I wish I had met the Lord earlier”? We who were called early are tremendously blessed. And we have had all this time to grow in holiness, to renew our marriage, to fix our family, to serve Jesus, and to experience in so many ways the wonders of God. Having been called early is reward itself. Going to heaven, with those called later, is the common reward.

Thus, in our work of evangelization, we must never have the attitude that here we are, working so hard and enduring suffering, when others will respond just later in their lives, after living it up in the world, and make it to heaven just like us. Don’t grumble, saying, “These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.” (v.12). We are given the privilege of serving God now. God “sent (us) into his vineyard.” (v.2b). We are blessed now. We have been greatly favored by God. We have been honored by God as He allows us to be His co-workers.

So do not grumble but rather rejoice. Thank God sincerely from your heart. And continue to work hard in the vineyard.

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