DCLM Youth Search The Scripture For February 12, 2023 : Topic – Parable Of The Labourers
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PARABLE OF THE LABOURERS
TEXT: Matthew 20:1-16
MEMORY VERSE: “So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first” (Matthew 20:8).
Severally, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the greatest Teacher that ever lived, illustrated the kingdom of God with parables. As a style of teaching, parables are used to help inculcate higher spiritual truths with near-familiar stories or comparisons. Here, we are presented with man as “an householder” who went out “to hire labourers into his vineyard”. The householder refers to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and the vineyard is His Church (Matthew 13:27,52; 20: 1; 21:33; Mark 12:1). This parable teaches significant lessons about the way of the kingdom of God. It teaches that there is always something to do in the house of God for all categories of believers. People may be engaged in secular work, but they are idle if God’s work has no place in their agenda. The parable also presents us with the necessity of reaching out to sinners and getting them established in the kingdom of God. Some potential workers complained that nobody hired them to work in the vineyard. “They say unto him, because no man hath hired us.” Many people are not aware of God’s plan of salvation for their lives. Believers must intensify awareness of God’s kingdom through productive soul-winning strategies so that no one can claim ignorance of the salvation plan that is meant for all to enjoy. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11). The householder, after calling the first set of workers, went out about the third, sixth and the eleventh hours to call other labourers so that everybody could benefit from the reward attached to the work (Matthew 20:5,6). The call to serve the Lord is a consistent one. No true worshipper of God should hesitate to respond to this call. Believers should repeatedly call men to come to God’s plan for their lives. The householder did not call people just once and afterwards gave up; he did it consistently. One crusade or evangelism outreach is not enough to bring all people to the kingdom of God. Also, believers who are doing little or nothing to advance the kingdom of God should be encouraged to put their hands to the work to pave way for them to partake in Kingdom benefits on the last day (2 Corinthians 5: 10).
Question 1: Mention some areas the Lord is calling saved youths to serve in the vineyard and what their attitude should be.
In God’s Vineyard, there are so many areas born again youth can serve God. They can serve as members of the youth choir, Youth Home Success Fellowship officers, School Fellowship officers, members of Christian literature distribution team and so on. Personal evangelism is also a special area for all believers (Matthew 28:2(); Mark 16:15). Our attitude towards the call should be prompt. The call of God is variously described in the Scriptures to show its uniqueness. It is called a holy calling (2 Timothy 1:19), a high calling (Philippians 3: 14), and a heavenly calling (Hebrews 3:1). Those who understand what this call means would place a high premium on it more than any other calls or vocation. It is a call that comes with eternal blessing and value. Believing youths who shun the service of God do not have a comprehensive understanding of the call of God on their lives.
CALL TO THE SERVICE OF THE MASTER (Matthew 20:1-8; 4:19-22; John 4:34; 9:4)
The call to the service of God in His vineyard is the noblest call under the sun. Christian youth are saved so that they can serve. It is therefore, abnormal for a believing youth to fold his hands without getting involved in the work of the our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, demonstrated His obedience to the call of God upon His life by going about doing the work of His Father. He publicly declared, “…My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34) and, “1 must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Jesus called Peter and his brother, James and John, the sons of Zebedee and they followed Him (Matthew 4:19-22). It is pertinent to note that before we respond to the call to service, we must first respond to the call of salvation and reconciliation with God does not attract His approval and blessings. Sinners must first repent of their sins because this call to service requires clean vessels. “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee (Psalm 51:12,13). King David here realised that he could not teach the way of God without being in a good relationship with Him. By implication, an unsaved soul cannot render acceptable service to God.
Question 2. What steps can a sinning youth take before serving God acceptably in His vineyard?
A sinner must repent of sin, recognise Christ as Lord and personal saviour and abide in the truth and holiness. The church has a lot of unfinished tasks, making it more compelling for all to get involved in the work. In the parable, some gave excuses of not being invited and immediately the householder reached out to them so that they could join the work force. The Lord expects all leaders in church to encourage saved youths to see the need of working for God.
Question 3: is it important for all saved youths to get involved in the work of God and evangelism?
The Great Commission cannot be accomplished if we do not join hands to achieve its goal. The people in the days of Nehemiah responded positively to the work of God: “so built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work” (Nehemiah 4:6). Born again youths should get involved because they are saved to serve; evangelism is the only means the love of God can get to the people.
COMMITMENT TO SERVICE WITHOUT MURMURING (Matthew 20:10-12; Mark 10:35-41; John 6:43; Philippians 2:14; Colossians 4: 17; 1 Corinthians 15:58)
“But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house” (Matthew 20:10,11). The Lord expects us as believers to render acceptable service to Him.
Question 4: How should a born again youth react when God blesses youth of the church?
We are not to serve in expectation of personal gain but in appreciation of what God has done for us. Hence, our services should not be done with murmuring, complaint or jealousy. The first set of workers in this parable murmured and complained because they expected greater rewards than the other workers who were called later. This is not the Lord’s standard or perception of service in the Kingdom. Believers serving God should avoid this pitfall. The Bible admonishes us to “Do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Philippians 2:14). Older members of the church should not feel sad when God uses and blesses younger converts but should praise God for His mighty acts. As believers, we Should not be surprised or take offence when God rewards others in unexpected ways. When we are converted, we become members of the body of Christ; and as we grow in grace, we should reason that when any member is honoured, the honour is for all of us. We must shun murmuring as we serve God in His vineyard. We should do our work for God with commitment because we have examples of saints who have gone before us who were very committed to the service of the Lord. David put his life in his hand and killed Goliath because he was committed to defending the glory of the God of Israel. “And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26). Also, he offered a special burnt offering that cost him something in order to demonstrate his commitment (2 Samuel 24:24). Today, there are many sinners out there who can only gain their freedom if only we put our necks to the work of evangelism (Matthew 28: 19,20; Mark 16: 15). Paul the Apostle placed a curse on himself in order not to neglect the preaching of the gospel. He said, “…woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16).
Question 5: How can a born again youth demonstrate commitment to the work of God?
Believing youth can demonstrate their commitment to the work of God by identifying a work area and devoting time to serve there. We must take steps to ensure the work of God is done acceptably. Paul admonished his co-worker, Archippus to “…Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it” (Colossians 4: 17). This godly counsel is instructive to believers of all ages. Some workers, like Demas, who were working diligently for the Lord before have down tools before the time of their reward. The mundane gains of this world should not make believers to leave the work. We should rather strive and labour to the very end without quitting the work. We are to occupy till the Lord comes.
CORRECTIONS FOR THE SERVANTS IN THE MINISTRY (Matthew 20:13-16; 1 Samuel 30:21-25; Hebrews 12:5,6; Luke 18:14)
The householder promptly corrected the erring servants in our parable when they began to murmur and complain against his good gesture of rewarding the servants accordingly. “But he answered one of them, and said Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?” (Matthew 20:13). God corrects those He loves. Believers should count it a thing of joy when they are corrected by the Lord through His ministers. “ My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:5,6). Position seeking and self-aggrandizement should not be mentioned in the house of God. Believers must serve in humility, unity and love and should earnestly pray for sanctification so that they can serve God acceptably (Hebrews 12:5,6).
Question 6: What important lessons can we draw from correction of the householder?
There are lessons to draw from the corrections of the householder. One, we should be contented with whatever the Lord gives us. Godliness with contentment is crucial in the life and service of a true child of God. Two, God holds the prerogative to determine what He does with His resources. He distributes to people according to the counsel of His own will (1 Corithians 12:11). Three, we should glorify God when He blesses others and not become jealous (Luke 18:43). Four, we should not compare our service with others. God knows how to reward those working for Him according to His purpose. Carnal comparison should be avoided. Five, we must understand that God owns us and all that we have. The services we render to Him are products of the grace He gives us freely. We have to allow Him to have control over our ambition. We should not dictate to Him the way He should reward us. Six, God does not want His children to run others down in order to get more advantage. Seven, we should never resent God’s gracious acceptance of the despised, the outcast and sinners who have turned to Him for forgiveness; neither should we be jealous of what He has given to another person. Rather, we should focus on God’s gracious benefits to us and be thankful for what we have.
In summary, we should receive the call of God on our lives with gratitude and serve Him with all our hearts without comparing ourselves with anyone. Our focus should be to please the Master who knows how to reward everyone accordingly. Since there is no partiality with Him, no one would be short-changed or owed anything; the Judge of all the earth cannot do unrighteously (Genesis 18:25; Hebrews 6: 10). Let us labour fervently till the Master comes!