In the parable of the labourers in the vineyard (Matt 22:1-16), we see the extraordinary generosity and compassionate nature of our God. There is great tragedy and pain in unemployment, the loss of work, and the inability to earn enough to live on and support one’s family and in some cases extended family members. The question is how many of us can sustain ourselves by the wages we receive? Today we hear talks about minimum wages. And I ask; the minimum wage in 9ja, na wu e epp? I tell the government weh don sir.
It should be recalled that the Federal Executive Council had on May 25 approved the constitution of the National Minimum Wage Committee to kick-start the process of negotiations for new wage for workers. We hope what the committee comes up with will be such that families can pay their rents without at least borrowing, pay fees, light and water charges and put food on the table without seeking overdraft from the bank.
In Jesus’ time labourers had to wait each day in the market place until someone hired them for a day’s job. No work that day usually meant no food on the table, no money for hospital bills and medications, no money to fix the leaking roof, and buy the children the lovely dress they saw and wanted etc. In the parable, we see our good Lord always reaching out to the labourers and providing for them. We see once again the name Abraham spoke about God to his son Issac in Genesis 22, 14; Yahweh Jireh, God will provide. Unfortunately many people today, still sit at home expecting manna to fall. But we see that even God needs human cooperation to bless us. We see and learn today God blesses us not necessarily be because of our performance, but based on our availability, perseverance and openness to His grace. Like the fish, God put it in the sea, but you have to get it on your boat.
The Master going regularly to the market place tells us God always searches for mankind, and His mercy and blessing is available every moment. If you don’t have it now, then wait for a while. Your time will come. The labourers who worked all day and received their payment at the right time. This is directed at the government and other establishments having to deal with payment of wages. Do you pay your employees as at when due? The first set of labourers complained the master pays the late afternoon labourers the same wage. They forgot, they went into an MOU before commencement of work. Do you know that as a Christian, you signed an agreement with God to walk like Christ? How often do we go back on our agreement with him? The master undoubtedly, hired the other groups in the late afternoon so they wouldn’t go home pay-less and hungry. God is generous in opening the doors of his kingdom to all who will enter, both those who have labourerd a life-time for him and those who come at the last hour. We see a similar play out in the story of the two men were crucified with Jesus at the same time, one on his right hand and one on his left (Matthew 27:38, Mark 15:27–28,32, Luke 23:33, John 19:18). Let us note here that this story is accorded great importance which explains its occurrence in all four gospels of which the Gospel of Mark interprets as fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 53:12. It is not when you started that matters. Today we hear a lot of people saying and reminding others of how long they have been in the church, how long they have served in a men’s or women’s group, how committed they have been, and even the office they occupy in the gathering of worshippers.
Dear Christian or Christiana, it is not how long you think you have known Christ that matters. It is how well you are ending with him. We see today how people start out well, but end up badly. “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” It is how well you use your time and the chance.
While the reward for our spiritual labour is the same for all of us having a look at the big picture; (heaven, hell, purgatory) the motive for our daily labour can make all the difference. To those of you who work, are you serious minded or have derailed and joined the group saying “after all na government work”. So because it is government work, it should be treated with lack of seriousness. In some cases persons in the government sabotages government effort so the establishment will be privatized. We are not speaking against privatization, but against sabotage just so one benefits from privatization to the detriment of the poor and low wage earners. Some work only for the reward. They will only put in as much effort as they think they will get back. Others labour out of love and joy for the opportunity to work and serve others. While still in search of a job, one can choose a few days to volunteer in church, in the hospital, or Some departmental store. Money is good but it is not everything. In our world today where to get a job you need a few years of experience, our youths should start considering volunteering until something better comes. When you volunteer, you may not be paid, but you are sure of having job experience and knowledge. Quit sitting at home. Go out and volunteer today.
The Lord Jesus calls each of us to serve God and his kingdom with joy and zeal and to serve our neighbours with a generous spirit. He calls us to be happy for others when they are blessed with what we have we think they don’t deserve. We should celebrate others sincerely for what they have been able to accomplish even when we have not reached such a height. We should celebrate our friends and even neighbours and not give into jealousy, envy and hatred all because they too now have what we have. Be ready to help and support others fulfill their dreams and goals. Be ready to push others forward without feeling threatened about their success. Support that artist. Buy and listen to his album and tell others to do the same. Buy from her and tell others to patronize her. Share that post and let more people know about her and give a very encouraging remark and kind comment. You won’t lose a finger if you do. The world will just be a better place if we appreciate each other, welcome the difference in each other and celebrate that difference.
Your task for this week, is to go out of your way if need be, and support someone achieve her dream and goal. Celebrate someone this week.
God bless you and have a lovely week ahead.