This parable about the vineyard seems to bug me. So early in the day this man goes out and hires a bunch of people. They start working and keep working all day. As the day goes on, he goes out and hires more and more people. As the day goes on he continues hiring people until, an hour before finishing time he hires the last group of people. So then at the end of the day he pays the workers their wages… starting with the last first. So now he’s paying the last, those that have only worked an hour, not only the same as those who have worked all day long, but also he pays them all the same. Those who have worked all day long are kind of ticked off, they have families and lives that they need to get home to. They are tired from working so hard, and these other guys not only get paid as much as they do, they have to wait to get paid until these others do. I mean come on! Give these guys a break! But the owner doesn’t. He responds to their frustration by saying, “This is what we agreed to, so why are you so upset about how I paid these others?”‘
I’m pretty sure that i understand the meaning behind the parable. The workers are people. Some have been serving God all their lives, others reject Him until not long before they die. Yet they both get paid the same. Why? Because God wants to do it that way. Being one that has served Him since i was young, i struggle with this one quite a bit. I think that part of it is a pride thing, and part of it is an envy thing, and part of it is a blind thing. I feel like I DESERVE more because I have worked SO HARD for SO LONG (pride). I feel like as i see others doing the wrong things (what they want) for so long, yet they seem to have all that they want / need, and they will get the same payment at the end it just doesn’t seem fair (envy). It’s also a blind thing. I don’t know what i’ve been missing out on. I can’t see 5 dimensionally. I can’t see what could have happened if i had made a different choice, but i wonder.
In the parable, the owner of the vineyard says, “Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’” I have to be careful of how i react to these kinds of things. Matthew 18:8-9 says, “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.” I have to be careful. If my envious eye is not brought under conviction and dealt with (removed), it can lead to my own downfall.
There is so much more to this topic that i don’t have time to go into, but i did want to touch on one more thing in this chapter. At the end of the chapter, there are two blind men sitting. They heard that Jesus was passing by and they cried out for mercy! What had they done wrong to deserve blindness that they needed mercy for? Christ asked them what they wanted Him to do (significant). He had compassion and healed them. When we are physically blind, or blinded by by pride and envy. Only one can have mercy on us and bring healing to our eyes. He is the one we serve, and who has served us.
Rev. John J. Camiolo
How lightly do we esteem divorce? How easily do we let it go? In the time of Christ, divorce was an easier process than it is now. You had just to get a certificate of divorce from the Scribes and/or Pharisees. I have heard it said that it was easier than that. I have heard it said that all a man needed to do was to tell his wife, “I divorce you.” three times together, and they were divorced.
Jesus makes it clear that once the marriage has been sealed, divorce is not in the design or the plan. Yet so often, we don’t see it that way. Men are looking for t he perfect wife, and women are looking for the perfect man. They marry the person that they think is “the one” or their “soul mate” and when things don’t quite go as expected, there is a running of the bulls. The couple flees and the marriage dissolves. Yet that is not how it is meant to happen. Yet we, in our selfishness and pride, would rather destroy what God made and blessed than admit that we may be wrong, or that we need to change in ways that we don’t want / like to… especially when we feel hurt by someone who was supposed to protect / respect us. There are so many things i could go into explaining and blaming for this mentality; the age of marriage, pre-marital emotional intimacy, a lack of marital support / mentoring, a lack of understanding of what marriage really is, but i need to move on.
I am very interested in this story of the rich young ruler. In Bible college I had a professor that put a very interesting spin / perspective on this story. The rich young ruler is a young man that clearly desires to be righteous and be a part of what God / Christ is doing. However, he gets so caught up in his own wealth, that he can’t let it go to pursue Christ. However, this story may not end here. From what i’ve heard, this young man reappears in the Bible in the book of acts. Apparently Josephus (the non-Christian Jewish historian) reports that the Apostle John taught his disciples that this rich young ruler was the same man that is named in Acts (4:36-37) “Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” Barnabas went on, partnered with Paul, and was one of the first missionaries. He did great things with the kingdom, but ONLY after he let go of his riches. I have not studied this in depth, but i believe this to be true because i have seen how God works. To have a man consumed by his riches and reject Christ / his call at first because of these things finally turn, reject the wealth, and become the true man of God he was meant to be. That kind of redemption can only be the work of God / YHWH!
Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.
If things weren’t deep and passionate before, there is a whole lot of that going on now! The plagues keep getting more and more intense and powerful, and Pharaoh’s frustration and anger are getting worse and worse.
Pharaoh is doing everything he can to attempt to delay or stop the inevitable, but he just can’t stop YHWH. I kind of feel bad for the guy. But at the same time, i know why this is happening, and his involvement / responsibility in it. It’s kind of like working with troubled youth. Sometimes the only way they learn is to allow them to learn and understand the consequences of their actions. Explaining it to them, processing it with them and protecting them from it can only get you so far. Sometimes you just need to let them see, and until they see they will not understand.
You can see Pharaoh’s will / resolve start to soften in this chapter, but Pharaoh is not a man to change easily or lightly. Nor is he a man likely to accept defeat. God continues to harden an already hard heart. Pharaoh continues to attempt to compromise with God, but the cost of that compromise is much higher than the cost of the original price.
How do you help a man who is so insistent that he wins, that he is willing to destroy himself and everything around him in order to do so? How do you open the eyes of a man so blinded by his own pride and rebellion that he thinks he can stand against God? What drives a man to become what you see before you? Yes, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and yes, God had every right to do that! But the truth is, He didn’t need to. Pharaoh was so intent on doing it to himself that he did not need any real help from God.
How do help a man like that?