Matthew 20: The Agreed Payment
Yesterday, we talked about how there is no way to achieve salvation outside of the power of Jesus Christ, and today in Matthew 20, we receive an illustration that tells us a little bit more about this process of getting into heaven.
As a quick summary, Jesus tells a parable of a group of men who were hired by a landowner to work the fields. They agreed to a contract, and these men put in a full day of work. The landowner also hired more people for the same wages later in the day. The original workers were upset because they felt it was unfair that they all received the same wages for differing amounts of work.
Mat 20:13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
Mat 20:14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
Mat 20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
Mat 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
The wages are representative of entrance into heaven. However, people have done different amounts of work to get there. Nevertheless, they all agreed with the landowner on the price. We have taken God at His word. God said that we can be saved through faith, so we have agreed on the wage.
I think about this one, and the comparison that comes to mind is the work of Billy Graham as compared to the work of someone who converts to Christianity on his or her deathbed. Clearly, the amount of impact they can have on earth for the cause of Christ would be different. Billy Graham had his entire life to work at his phenomenal ministry, and this hypothetical convert had maybe a few hours. However, they are both going to receive the gift of everlasting life with God. It is the same penny if you will.
Receiving that payment relies on making the agreement with God and making that commitment, but when the wages are paid, they are going to be the same. They will be praising God eternally right beside each other.