Random Thoughts Matthew 20

I..) 20:1-15 teaches God can legitimately do whatever he chooses to do with all that he possesses.

We see this kind of reasoning in the book of Job. At the end of Job the answer God gives Job is that as God He is above inquiry as to what He does with His own.

It this kind of God we have to do with in Romans when it teaches that God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy.

We must not miss the Sovereignty of God in this Parable for that is one over-riding theme. The Vineyard (Kingdom) belongs to the owner. He brings into the Vineyard who He will and when He will. He recompenses according to justice and grace. We all get what we deserve because we are found in Christ. From another perspective all of us get what we do not deserve and that is reward above our work. Those who complain against the Vineyard Owner are implicitly complaining against the Sovereignty and generosity of God.

Down this line of Sovereignty we see the clear teaching of Election. “Many are called but few are Chosen.” I understand this to mean that many are attached to visible Kingdom who do not have the invisible Kingdom within them. All in the Kingdom are called but only the elect are chosen. Some reckon their Kingdom work as merit based. These are forever trying to put God in their debt. These are those who are called and not chosen. .

II.) 20:1-15 teaches that the promise of reward should not become ground upon which to stand. The ground upon which to stand is the generosity of the Vineyard owner in calling one to work. All is of grace, including the reward.

We find this kind of point made in Luke 15 in the parable of the Prodigal Son

Here we find the workers first hired, resentful, and complaining of injustice
Lk. 15 we find the elder son, who stayed at home, resentful and complaining of injustice

Here we find the unexpected generosity of the Employer towards the workers hired late
Lk. 15 we find the unexpected generosity of the Father towards the prodigal son

Here the employer justifies his extravagant generosity
Lk. 15 the Father justifies his extravagant generosity

Part of our sin nature reveals itself in our being inveterate comparers. We are consumed with all things being fair and then we are forever defining fair as that which works in our favor. In Matthew 20 the complaint of “unfairness,” is really about envy. There was a belief that the latecomers are getting more than they deserved and that the latecomers were not getting what the earlier workers thought they deserved. The earlier workers were discontent with what they received only because they were angry that the later workers were treated with abundant kindness.

Here is one point of application I believe. Can we rejoice with others in the largesse of God’s grace towards them when we might be tempted to think that God, having plenty of largesse to spare, isn’t being quite as gracious towards us as He might? Can we be content with the grace we’ve been given without being angered that someone has been given more? Can we keep from looking at others and playing the comparison game?

It is grace for any of us to be in Kingdom work. What matters it if God decides to bless some in the Kingdom with more than He does others in terms of blessing?

III.) 20:1-15 teaches that God’s generosity transcends human expectations, and grace disallows calculations of recompense

There is, in some quarters of the Church, a great deal of discussion on future rewards of the Kingdom, as if the desire for rewards ought to be a motivating factor for obedience. However, our motivation for obedience is found not in the promise of rewards, as if we could calculate that.

I’ve never been too concerned about this whole notion of rewards as a motivating factor or as something that should draw our interest. It is enough that God has placed us in the Vineyard to begin with, and it is enough that our motivation is calculated not on what more we might receive but on all that God has already freely given us. God has freely saved us and freely put us in the Kingdom and He will freely measure out to each according to His good measure.

As we have hinted at already, note that the complaint is not against the landowner’s injustice. There was no injustice in his dealing with those who would bring complaint. The complaint instead is against the generosity towards the latecomers. The complaint isn’t “you haven’t been good enough to us,” the complaint rather is, “you’ve been too good to others.”

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

4 thoughts on “Random Thoughts Matthew 20”

  1. Gray,

    It’s been a tough month health wise. Was afflicted with one bug and no sooner had my health returned I was jumped with a respiratory bug. I’m hoping that Feb. will be a better month.

  2. Bret, sorry to hear of your illness. I do think its going around right now. Glad you are feeling better, and will offer a prayer for a healthy Feb. Gray

  3. Grammar:
    Original: “He brings into the Vineyard WHO He will and when He will.”
    Edit: “He brings into the Vineyard WHOM He will” Whom is acting as the object.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *