Crossroads: The Workers in the Field

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Matthew 20:1-16

My Story

Have you ever thought that something was just unfair? It could be that someone got something that you thought you deserved, or you did the right thing and someone else didn’t do anything, but they still got the credit. Maybe you felt like you deserved that promotion at work, but someone else (who doesn’t seem to work as hard) got it instead. There have been times in my life when I felt like God was being unfair. By the time I got to college, I’d grown up in a divorced family and been through two church splits. There were times when I felt like I’d been through a lot more than I should have. And I had a friend who seemed like she had the perfect life. There were many times when I felt like God was being unfair, that somehow my life should have been easier like hers was. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that God had been generous in other ways. These trying times that I experienced taught me a great deal and have enabled me to be more understanding when others face difficulties. I would not be who I am without these experiences.

Your Story

Tell your children about a time when . . .
• Life didn’t seem fair, but then you realized you were trying to put yourself first, or . . .
• When someone else got something you felt you deserved, or . . .
• When you felt like God owed you for something you did for Him.

The Bible Story

Read Matthew 20:1-16 with your children.

The vineyard workers in this parable felt like things were unfair. In the early morning, a landowner hired workers to work in his vineyard. He went out again around 9 and hired some more. He did this again at noon, at 3 PM, and at 5 PM. When the day was done, he called the workers to receive their wages. Those who began at 5 PM were paid first—a whole day’s wages. Well the ones who began at 3 thought that surely they would be paid more, but they received the same amount. The ones who had been working since 9 AM and noon received the same amount as well. They grumbled that it wasn’t fair that those who had only worked an hour received the same amount of pay as those who had worked the entire day. The landowner said that he paid them what they agreed to and asked them, “Are you resentful because I’m generous?” In this instance, the landowner represents God. Can we resent God because He is generous? None of us deserve God’s generosity, and yet He continues to give it.

Discussion Questions

Ask your children to think of a time when…
• They had to work hard to get a treat, but someone else (brother, sister, friend) got one without having to do anything.
• Older children/youth: They studied hard for a test, but when everyone else did poorly, the teacher curved it so that all of their hard work didn’t even pay off.
• They felt like they had more chores at home than a brother/sister, but still got the same allowance.
• They did something and got in trouble; someone else did the same thing and got away with it.

Action

Remind your children of God’s generosity and the fact that none of us deserve it. We haven’t earned it. Have your family think of ways that they can be generous to others, even when they don’t deserve it. Think of ways in which others have been generous to you.

Pray

Ask God to help you recognize generosity instead of unfairness. Thank God for how generous He has been.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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