Inauguration of Labor Day During the Industrial Revolution in the 1800’s, working conditions were harsh, exhausting, and because of the low wages women and children had to work to provide for the family. Thousands went out on strike demanding better pay and shorter working hours. Labor Day was voted to be a National holiday in 1894 & has been celebrated annually since then. God’s plan is for man to labor to provide for his family, but more importantly He calls people to work in His vineyard with the motivation of heaven in the context of Matthew 20:1-16. The Setting of Matthew 20:1-16 The rich young ruler walks away sorrowfully ... Jesus says, “It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven ... easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” Disciples ask, “Who then can be saved?” & Jesus responds, “With God, all things are possible.” Peter asks, “We’ve left everything and followed you, what then will there be for us?” Jesus taught that they would receive much now and later eternal life ... and added…“But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.” The Teaching of Matthew 20:1-16 Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a landowner who hires laborers in the vineyard. He goes at sunrise and hires workers. He goes back several times throughout the day and hires more (3rd, 6th, 9th, & 11th hours) This was common practice in the 1st century. At the end of the day, the landowner calls his foreman to pay the men. The Teaching of Matthew 20:1-16 The landowner was trustworthy, honest, and generous. He begins with the ones he hired last. He pays them a denarius (a day’s wage) for working (even though they only worked one hour). He continues and pays each group the same. When the ones who worked 12 hours came, they grumbled because they expected more. The landowner reminded them that they agreed to work for a denarius and he had a lawful right to pay them what he wanted since it was his money. God will Reward those who are willing to Sacrifice for the Kingdom of Heaven Even though the rich young ruler had good morals, he refused to sacrifice his possessions. On the other hand, Peter and the apostles had sacrificed their lives for the kingdom’s sake. All who sacrifice for Jesus will be rewarded. The landowner is God and He will keep His promises and give the wages. This reward is a gift from God for faithful service (Heb. 6:10) not earned income (Luke 17:10). All People Receive the Same Wages No matter who comes to God (whether rich or poor, male or female, slave or free). No matter what time they come (young or old). All receive the same reward! (Rom. 6:23) Those who crucified the Lord but obeyed the gospel (Acts 2:37-41) will have the same reward as those in the hall of faith (Heb. 11). The thief on the cross will have the same reward as all the apostles. All People Receive the Same Wages Won’t this encourage death bed repentance? No. The 11th hour laborers had not been hired earlier, but when they were hired, they worked! God’s grace is not a license to sin (Titus 2:11ff). You will reap what you have sown (Gal. 6:7). You can obey when you’re old, but why waitthere’s danger & death in delay (Jas. 4:13-17). God desires that we remember Him in our youth. (Eccl. 12:1) God Will Do What’s Right, Don’t be Envious Those who endured the heat all day complained when they didn’t receive more than the others. But they had no right to question God’s kindness towards others who worked a shorter time. Who are we to say to the Lord “we’ve had to endure persecution all of our lives for the cause of Christ” and then speak evil of His generosity to save others realizing that we will face Him in judgment? (2 Cor. 5:10) We should be grateful that He is so merciful. God Will Do What’s Right, Don’t be Envious Instead of being envious of others and idle, we need to be busy in the vineyard of the Lord. Laziness, indifference, and apathy plagues many Christians today. Encourage each other towards love and good deeds so that souls might be saved and saints might be edified or restored. (Heb. 10:23ff; Proverbs 11:30; James 5:19-20) Let us be co laborers in the kingdom- the Greatest Work on Earth! Lessons We Must Learn • God will Reward Those who are willing to sacrifice for the kingdom of heaven • All receive the same wages (spiritual blessings of heaven) • God will Do What is Just and Right. Don’t be envious of others Conclusion What are you willing to sacrifice for? Your money or your possessions like the rich young ruler? Or will you realize like the apostles, that no sacrifice is too great to give up for heaven? All laborers in God’s kingdom will receive a far greater reward than they because we are sinners and God is rich in mercy! (Eph. 2:1-7) God is calling for workers to enter the kingdom of the Lord without delay because if we are not working for Him, we are working for the devil.