Working for a Penny a Day

The penny in this story was worth more than the little brown penny we use today, because this happened when Caesar was alive, and his picture was on each coin.
This is the story of a man who had a vineyard where he grew lots of grapes. He needed a lot of workers for the job, because grapes don’t grow on trees like apples do. Grapes grow on vines that have to be trained to climb a support. The fields where they grow have to be weeded and the vines have to be pruned and cared for, until big, juicy clusters of grapes hang ready for harvesting. No ladders are needed, just workers.
One morning the owner went to the marketplace and found men looking for a job. A penny a day, he offered them, and the men were glad for a job and agreed to work for a penny a day. It was a common day’s wages at that time.
But one group of workers was not enough. The owner went back to hire another group and found men standing idle and promised them, I will give you what is right. They must have trusted his honesty, because they also went to work. Twice more that day the owner went to hire more workers, and, at last, when the workday was almost over, he found more men standing idle and said to them, Why are you standing all day doing nothing?
They answered, Because nobody has hired us.
Go also into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.
They trusted him, and they also went to work in the vineyard.
Are you like those men? Maybe this is the last time you will hear the voice of God calling you. This may be your last chance to be saved. Will you listen? Will you come? “Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live” (Isaiah 55:33Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. (Isaiah 55:3)).
Then came sunset, and the owner said to his officer, Call the workers and give them their pay, beginning from the last hired to the first hired.
Do you remember the promise the owner had made to the first group of workers? A penny a day, he had said, and he was a man who kept his promises.
But here was a surprise. Even the last workers hired late in the day received a penny! The first workers saw this, and they held out their hands for more than a penny. But no, they had agreed for a penny, and a penny was what they received. Not fair, they grumbled. These men worked only one hour, and you gave them the same pay as those of us who worked hard all day in the heat!
Friend, said the owner, I do you no wrong. Didn’t you agree with me for a penny? It’s yours. Now take it, and go your way. I will give to the last workers just what I gave to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own money? Are your thoughts evil because I am good?
That’s a question for you to think about. If you grumble, remember that God is in control, and it’s God you are grumbling about. He is right in everything He does.
The truth is that, because Jesus died for me, God can pour out His blessing on me when I didn’t deserve it at all. That’s what is called “grace,” and let me tell you that God is the God of all grace. His riches are far more than a penny — they are unsearchable riches! Don’t fight for an extra penny, but rather come, right now, and receive from Him the grace and forgiveness for your sins that only God in His great love for us could think of giving! And it doesn’t matter if you are a big sinner with lots of sins or a little sinner with not so many, His grace and forgiveness are the same for each one who comes to Him.
“In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:77In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (Ephesians 1:7)).
Think About God’s Word!
1. Why did the first workers grumble after receiving their pennies?
2. How does Philippians 4 encourage us not to grumble but rather to be thankful?
Project: The children of Israel grumbled often in the wilderness. When did they grumble and what were the consequences?