Matthew 20:3-7 “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. He went out again about the sixth and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day doing nothing?’ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’”
Our life is this long day when people are working in God’s vineyard, and serving God is all grace no matter when he calls us. If we know Jesus already from childhood, that means an entire lifetime of serving him.
That’s a good thing, right? You grow up knowing that God loves you so much that he let his Son die on a cross to pay for your sins. Maybe you can’t remember a time when you didn’t know God forgives every sin. Do you have any idea how life-changing that realization is, how it molds your entire worldview, the daily relief and peace in which you live compared to the guilt and fear of so many?
So yes, that also means that you are fighting sin and temptation when others are just going with the flow, that you are living for others when others are living for self. But you live your entire life aware of God’s grace, certain that you are loved, convinced that you will go to heaven and live forever. It’s all grace if he called you to faith and service so young.
Because God is all about grace, he doesn’t limit his call to those who are young. Studies suggest that the best time to reach people with the gospel is childhood. A far greater percentage of the children will believe and stay in the faith. But what does God care about our studies? Love drives him to seek people at every age of life.
If the gospel called you to faith and service somewhere in the middle of your life, aren’t there special gifts that go along with your place in life? I never appreciate warmth so much as when I’ve been cold. Food tastes so much better after I’ve been hungry. If you know what it is like to muddle through life without the gospel, then that gospel may feel so much warmer and taste so much sweeter when you do get it.
If you lived for years without the gospel, you can also relate to your unbelieving friends and their challenges. You get why there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Because the Lord called you when he did, you have special gifts, and you can see why serving God is all grace.
Then there are those who are hired at the eleventh hour. That’s just an hour before closing time, before the sun sets and the world goes dark. In old age don’t many people begin to wonder, “Why am I here? What is desirable about me anymore? I’m used up. I’m getting weak.” But God still wants you if you are old. He still has a purpose for you, or you wouldn’t be here. His call is constant, right up to the last days of life. It’s more proof that serving God is all grace.