In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells the story of a landowner who goes out to hire workers for his vineyard. He begins early in the morning, about 6:00 a.m. He selects a group of ambitious workers we’d consider early birds. They have their fresh cups of coffee and are anxious to get to work. Around 9:00 a.m., the landowner realizes the vast the nature of his vineyard and determines he needs more workers. Sure enough, he finds able-bodied individuals ready to go. He repeats the action around 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m, adding more manpower to get the job done. As the day winds down, the vineyard is full of workers. But there was still room.
About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, “Why have you been standing around here all day long doing nothing?” “Because no one has hired us,” they answered. He answered them, “You also go and work in my vineyard.” (Matthew 20:6-7)
The work day is almost over. It’s almost time to close up shop. 5:00 p.m. Just about time to clock out. You wouldn’t blame those who haven’t gotten a job yet for just walking away. But these potential workers chose to stick around. They were aware that things looked bleak. They were being passed over. Others were selected ahead of them for jobs. Others were promoted, while they went unrecognized. But they stuck around.
As I read this passage, those two simple words came to mind for you. Stick around! I don’t care how long you’ve been waiting. I don’t care how long you have gone unrecognized. I don’t care if you feel like your time has passed. The sun may be setting on your dream…but…Stick around! Trust me:
If the workers hadn’t stuck around they wouldn’t have been in position to be selected by the landowner.
Imagine sitting in the marketplace all day. As the end of the work day approaches the scoffers come out. You might as well go home. Try again tomorrow. Better yet, try something else. Recognize that these workers didn’t have a pity party at home. They sat out in the marketplace. They made themselves available. But also recognize this. Although they made themselves available, they also made themselves vulnerable.
There’s a certain level of VULNERABILITY that comes with your AVAILABILITY.
Be encouraged my brother/sister. Stick around. Because in the end those “late” workers were paid the same wage that the early birds received. Which led Jesus to conclude with these encouraging words:
So the last will be first, and the first last (Matthew 20:16)