It is the Eleventh Hour
I am going to speak frankly about some searching internal things of God, I experienced years ago.
For years I had gone along, (a Church goer, Sunday School Teacher). But over a series of months, I was “forced” (by the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment) to admit to myself and God, the lack of permanent spiritual fruit in my own life.
I would be peaceful and joyful, at times; then angry and bitter, at other times.
I began to doubt the reality of my conversion.
My obedience I knew was partial, so I sought to be obedient in all things; to be more diligent.
Yet I longed with a greater and greater yearning to hear some Word from the Lord about it all.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
I started to pray that He would search me, hoping that it would lead to an experience.
A once accomplished setting in order, if you will. Then my life would be under the control of the Holy Spirit. No problems.
But time and time again, the Lord lead me to discover the times I simply did not deny myself in this attitude, or in that reaction.
Our reactions to people and things tells God, as well as others, a lot about our true spirituality.
To “deny myself” (Matthew 16:24); this was not what I wanted to hear.
I do that; I’ve done that.
But time and time again, I came face to face with the fact that I had started to do it, but my “reasons” for putting up with myself, seemed too good.
Or I had denied myself in the action. I did not do what was wrong.
But I sure wanted to.
Was that really “denying myself”?
So then the Lord showed me that I was born again, but I was not walking with Him.
I was following my own way. A way which was not producing fruit for Him, or true life for me.
He showed me, that time is important. I had made choices in things I could not change: consequences I must bear.
So, what could I do? How can I do for the time I have left?
Matthew 20:1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard.”
The Kingdom of Heaven, if it is to be gained, is by One man. The householder here; our Lord Jesus Christ; and His call to us.
God’s call is always to Himself: it may be to Salvation, or it may be to a work, or it may be to more knowledge of Himself.
But His Call is always to Himself.
Christ calls those who would be part of the Kingdom of Heaven, not to sit around, but to labor in His Work in this World.
The Lord showed me, through this parable, my life; and how I had served Him.
Will you see yourself here?
Now, within every believer, there is a “clock”, so to speak.
This clock begins to tick the moment we are born again. It is like a time clock for the Work of the Lord, for ourselves.
When Christ calls to the Work:
Some respond early, and go to work for Christ.
Matthew 20:1-2 “…a man that is a householder, which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard.
And when he had agree with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.”
(Back then, there were twelve hour days, and a penny was a good days wage.)
Some respond later, but still go.
Matthew 20:3-5 “And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace.
And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.”
But some, stand idle all the day; inactive, and barren.
Matthew 20:6-7 “About the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that ye shall receive.”
How can religious people be idle?
Because they have bee brought into the Christian faith without any confrontation of the total commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord.
Without any instruction that real Christian Victory, means complete abandonment of our self and person to Jesus Christ.
So when the householder said, “Go into my vineyard”; Jesus was giving us the opportunity of doing that. How many times in my life had He done so?
Now where were these “idle” ones during the times He came before?
He accuses them of standing idle “all the day”, so they must have been there.
Yet they did not heed His call to go and work.
What about you? Has the Lord Jesus called for laborers, and you stood idle?
When others went, you were relieved that you did not “have to” go?
Yet the time (remember each of us have a clock, ticking) goes by, and the emptiness with us seems to weigh us down. (It did for me)
Now the day is almost gone.
Oh, if He would just call again; for the Kingdom of Heaven is wrapped up in the laborers He has called.
Then He does, rebuking us for our laziness, for our attitude of letting someone else do the work.
What will you do now?
Let this last opportunity go by again? For it is the eleventh hour.
Matthew 20:9-10 “And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they received every man a penny.”
Here is the wages of these workers. (Not the wages of sin; Christ took those)
But in Him we receive the “wages” of our obedience to His call; and our faithfulness (even after we were unfaithful).
Some labored longer; some a very short time.
Yet the householder, Jesus Christ, pays out the same wages to all.
Those wages are the reward for the faithful following of His call. The faithful putting of yourself aside for Christ’s sake, and for the faithful love which (finally) follows Him.
In that day of receiving, we will enter into His Joy and into His courts with praise.
Hallelujah, what a Savior!