Sometimes I hear Christians say these things: ‘Really stressing out in serving’, ‘I am taking a break because I got burnt out in serving’ and ‘I have given so much and yet got no spiritual return’.

These kind of comments always imply a serious question ‘why is it so hard to serve and give it all in ministry but still would feel happy (not feel like the above)?’ – 何如此辛苦自忖主付出多放棄?

Recently I read a sermon on the Parable of the workers in the Vineyard which has enlightened me on this. The scripture is from Matthew chapter 20. This passage has 2 questions and an answer as the background (they are at the end of chapter 19).

The rich young ruler asks ‘What must I do to get eternal life?’ Peter asks ‘We have left everything to follow you what then will there be for us?’ Jesus says ‘But many who are first will be last and many who are last will be first’.

This parable often makes me think about fairness, it’s not fair for those workers worked 12 hours and get the same pay as those called in late and only worked for 1 hour, but when I read it in the above context it seems to give a different picture.

The parable main point is there are 2 types of workers, one is counting the return the other is only grateful (not counting return). As if I’m in the picture asking the 2 questions : I am after eternal life and have already given up a lot so what’s there for me but yet facing the parable as the answer , which type of worker I am …….

It’s the last become first meaning they get the blessings but the first become last meaning those miss out on the blessings while working in the vineyard. So it is all about the motivation and drive in serving – not that I am doing a service but I am actually gaining a blessing.

As I contemplate on this passage I seem to understand the meaning and yet not understand the meaning at the same time. I supposed this is the wisdom and power of the Cross. It’s completely beyond my comprehension but I can feel the assurance from God that it’s all and mere grace indeed.