They murmured - The Jews made the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles, a pretense why they should reject that Gospel; as they fondly imagined they were, and should be, the sole objects of the Divine approbation. How they murmured because the Gentiles were made partakers of the kingdom of God; see Acts 11:1, etc., and Acts 15:1, etc. There are many similitudes of this kind among the Jews, where the principal part even of the phraseology of our Lord's parable may be found. Several of them may be seen in Schoettgen. Our Lord, however, as in all other cases, has greatly improved the language, scope, design, and point of the similitude. He was, in all cases, an eminent master of the sentences.
Murmured - Complained; found fault with.
The goodman of the house - The original here is the same word which in Matthew 20:1 is translated householder, and should have been so translated here. It is the old English way of denoting the father of a family. It expresses no moral quality.
Repeatedly the Saviour says, “Many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” Jesus would have those who are engaged in His service, not eager for rewards, nor feel that they must receive compensation for all that they do. The Lord would have our minds run in a different channel; for He sees not as man sees. He does not judge by appearances, but estimates a man by the sincerity of his heart. CS 339.1
Those who have brought into their service the spirit of true sacrifice, of self-abasement, are the ones who will stand first at last. The laborers who were first hired, represented those who have an envious, self-righteous spirit, and claim that, for their services, preference should be given to them rather than to others. The householder said to the one who questioned his right to give more to others than to him, “Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?” I have kept my part of the agreement. CS 339.2Read in context »
But Peter's question, “What shall we have therefore?” had revealed a spirit that uncorrected would unfit the disciples to be messengers for Christ; for it was the spirit of a hireling. While they had been attracted by the love of Jesus, the disciples were not wholly free from Pharisaism. They still worked with the thought of meriting a reward in proportion to their labor. They cherished a spirit of self-exaltation and self-complacency, and made comparisons among themselves. When one of them failed in any particular, the others indulged feelings of superiority. COL 396.1
Lest the disciples should lose sight of the principles of the gospel, Christ related to them a parable illustrating the manner in which God deals with His servants, and the spirit in which He desires them to labor for Him. COL 396.2
“The kingdom of heaven,” He said, “is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.” It was the custom for men seeking employment to wait in the market places, and thither the employers went to find servants. The man in the parable is represented as going out at different hours to engage workmen. Those who are hired at the earliest hours agree to work for a stated sum; those hired later leave their wages to the discretion of the householder. COL 396.3Read in context »
Those who think more of their wages than of the privilege of being honored as a servant of the Lord, who take up their work in a self-congratulatory spirit because they are to receive wages, do not bring self-denial and self-sacrifice into their work. The last men hired believed the word of the householder, “Whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive” (Matthew 20:7). They knew that they would receive all that they deserved, and they were placed first because they brought faith into their work. If those who had labored during the whole day had brought a loving, trusting spirit into their work, they would have continued to be first. 2SM 182.1
The Lord Jesus estimates the work done by the spirit in which it is done. At a late hour He will accept penitent sinners who come to Him in humble faith and are obedient to His commandments. 2SM 182.2Read in context »
I was shown that as a people we are deficient. Our works are not in accordance with our faith. Our faith testifies that we are living under the proclamation of the most solemn and important message that was ever given to mortals. Yet in full view of this fact, our efforts, our zeal, our spirit of self-sacrifice, do not compare with the character of the work. We should awake from the dead, and Christ will give us life. 2T 114.1
With many of our brethren and sisters there is a strong inclination to live in Battle Creek. Families have been coming from all directions to reside there, and many more have their faces set that way. Some who have come to Battle Creek held offices in the little churches from which they moved, and their help and strength were needed there. When such arrive at Battle Creek, and meet with the numerous Sabbathkeepers there, they frequently feel that their testimonies are not needed, and their talent is therefore buried. 2T 114.2
Some choose Battle Creek because of the religious privileges it affords, yet wonder that their spirituality decreases after their sojourn there a few months. Is there not a cause? The object of many has been to advantage themselves pecuniarily—to engage in business which will yield them greater profits. Their expectations in this particular may be realized, while they have dearth of soul and become dwarfed in spiritual things. They take no special burden upon themselves because they think they would be out of place. They do not know where to take hold to labor in so large a church, and therefore become idlers in their Master's vineyard. All who pursue this course only increase the labor of those who have the burden of the work in the church. They are as so many dead weights. There are many in Battle Creek who are fast becoming withered branches. 2T 114.3Read in context »