(The following is the January 23 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Matthew 20 and pay close attention to verses 1-16.)
Have you ever felt cheated when a colleague who worked less than you received equal or more compensation? If so, then today’s Scripture will sound familiar. In the parable, a landowner hired laborers at different times, from early morning until near the end of the workday. When the time came to pay them, he first paid those who worked the shortest time, giving them a full day’s wage. Seeing this, those who worked longer got their hopes up, thinking they’d receive more. When they got the same day’s pay, they complained that it was unfair even though they initially agreed on that amount. The landowner asked, “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with what is mine? Are you jealous because I’m generous?” (v. 15).
We understand the complaints of those who worked longer but received the same as those who worked less. From their perspective, it doesn’t seem fair. But how would those who labored less view the situation? They’d be thrilled at the landowner's generosity, knowing they received more than they deserved.
When we consider God’s generosity, it should thrill us that he saves those who come to him late in life just as he does those who follow him for decades. We rejoice that Jesus said to the penitent thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Most Christians know people who are not Christians. Some are younger than us, and some are older. Some may be in their final days or years of earthly life. Don’t we want the same gift of eternal life for all, even though some have little time to serve Christ in this life? We should rejoice with all who receive Christ late in life and show deep gratitude to our generous Father.
List several people who don’t know Christ as Savior. Include some who seem most hardened and unwilling to repent and trust Christ. Pray for them and for opportunities to share the gospel with them.