Trust in Him

Monday, January 25, 2010

Is the redemption of sinners fair?

Matt 20:1-16 "For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who was the master of a household, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. He went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace. To them he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. About the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle. He said to them, ‘Why do you stand here all day idle?’ "They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ "He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and you will receive whatever is right.’

When evening had come, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning from the last to the first.’ "When those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came, they each received a denarius. When the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise each received a denarius. When they received it, they murmured against the master of the household, saying, ‘These last have spent one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat!’ "But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Didn’t you agree with me for a denarius? Take that which is yours, and go your way. It is my desire to give to this last just as much as to you. Isn’t it lawful for me to do what I want to with what I own? Or is your eye evil, because I am good?’ So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen."

It is not uncommon for people to ask me: "If someone was a sinner all his life and repented of his sins at the last minute... then according to your faith he will have gained as much as you. How is this fair?" The answer is to be found within this parable of Jesus. None of us are deserving of the great gifts in heaven, or even the gifts on earth. But Jesus has died for all people and promised all everlasting life if they should choose to accept it. All things are God's to give, and if we accept them... who are we to say that another is less deserving than we? Would not it be an act of the severest ungratefulness to say God was unjust for giving to another his inheritance, though he came late? The parables of the Prodigal Son and Lost Sheep also touch this... for, how could God, a loving Father, condemn his children in the face of their earnest repentance and love?

It warms my heart to have such a beautiful and good God who, though we have sinned, still calls us unceasingly to Himself. While this practical explanation is necessary for others, one with a true religious vocation will find, in His love for Christ, that he is not jealous. Rather, he will yearn for souls as Jesus does, mourn in their sadness, and rejoice in their repentance. How can one be a shepherd of souls and not love those souls? How can one be a fisher of men and hold men's sins against them? For, it is Jesus' express wish to have all His people with Him in heaven, and therefore our wish as well.


  1. Like the older brother of the prodigal son, I find that I am often jealous of others who seem to advance in the spiritual life while leaving me in the dust. You are blessed indeed to be able to live your life beyond that.

  2. I get jealous too... rather often, but it is merely a temptation. There is a comfort in knowing what one should be, praying to be that way, and finding one's soul converting to the disposition of the will. I find the love I feel is far deeper than any jealousy.

    The purpose of this post is to show what humility and acceptance of God's supreme goodness truly is, so that we can accept these beliefs and, through strength of will, overcome our natural indignation at the seemingly lesser successes of others... thus overcoming it and truly becoming God's children.