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All will receive their reward

Matthew 20:1-16

Pastor David Ernst

Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Jan 28, 2018 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Agriculture was the basis of the Palestinian economy at that time. Most people worked in the fields and vineyards. To teach them the truths of God, our Lord spoke in parables, stories of daily life as illustrations. Today we have a parable of the owner of a vineyard.

The abundant harvest of the grapes was ready and the owner needed workers to pick them soon or he would lose the harvest. So, "he went out in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.And having agreed with the workers for a denarius a day, he sent them to his vineyard, and leaving about the third hour, he saw others in the plaza who were idle and he said to them, "Go you also into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just." And they went away again at about the sixth and ninth hours, and did the same thing, and going out about the eleventh hour, he found others who were idle, and said to them, "Why are you here all day idle?" They say to him, "Because no one has hired us." He said to them, "You also go into the vineyard, and you will receive what is just." In the evening the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, "Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning from the last to the first." And those who had come near the eleventh hour, each one received a denarius.  The first ones came, thinkng that they had to receive more, but they also each one received a denarius, and when they received it, they murmured against the father of the family, saying: These last have worked only an hour, and you have made them equal to us, that we have carried the load and the heat of the day. But he answering, said to one of them: Friend, I do not hurt you; Did not you agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go; but I want to give this last as I will. Is it not lawful for me to do what I want with my own? Or is your eye bad because I'm generous? "

The Lord told them that the kingdom of God is similar to this vineyard. We are in a struggle to remain in the faith that we have received in baptism, but we are not in competition with others. The comparison with others is part of human nature. However, our work in this world is to live as children of God and we will all receive the same payment: eternal life with Christ. Many times it seems that the unbelievers earn more than we do in this world, but our hope is for something better, eternal life after death. Furthermore, it does not matter how long we live, nor whether we receive the gift of faith as children or as adults.

Because nobody deserves eternal life or the love of God. We have everything for a gift, that is, for grace. Good works in our lives arise from our gratitude to our merciful God.

In the same way, in our epistle (1 Corinthians 9: 24-10: 5), St. Paul talks about athletic competitions in the stadiums of the Greeks: foot races or boxing. However, he used these things as examples to explain the need for discipline. We should not worry about others in the race or the fight, because all who will remain in the faith will receive the same incorruptible crown. We must be prepared to stay firm until the end.

Because it is possible to lose the opportunity to receive the reward of eternal life if we faint or fall into temptation. "Everyone ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink; because they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. But God was not pleased with all of them; therefore they fell prostrate in the desert. "

We have the promise of eternal life because of what Christ has done for us. He died on the cross and was resurrected on the third day to win this promise for us. But, if we do not trust this sure promise, we may lose the reward at the time of judgment. We do not know how much time we have in this world. But, if we remain in the faith for any length of time, we will receive the reward.

To remain in faith to the end, we need the help of the Holy Spirit in the Word and the sacraments. When we fall into sin, we can repent and receive the absolution and body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper. This is spiritual food and spiritual drink to sustain us in the desert. In them we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

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