Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
Many will recognize today's Gospel as being the story of the Workers in the Vineyard. The point of the story is that God offers His grace to all people, even to the last second of their lives. Those who come in later will not receive less than those who labored all the day (their whole lives). It is a wonderful testament of God's truly amazing grace. But this phrase in our text captures my attention.
The Lord of the land continued to go out all day long to look for more laborers. Using the elements of the parable as Jesus does, the vineyard is the kingdom of heaven (v. 1). The landowner is, of course, the Lord. The workers are those who have been rescued from sin and brought into the vineyard. They will not starve or go without on this day because they have found a place to work. It is a picture of salvation. But notice, the landowner goes out, even at the last hour of the day. Why? Because he is concerned for the souls of those who will not have anything because they found no place to work.
Look at the text again. When he went out at 5:00 he found them standing around. They were idle. We may even say they were lazy. The case could easily be made that they didn't deserve to be offered a job. But the landowner isn't concerned about that. He is only concerned for the welfare of these men. He offers and they accept.
This is the heart of the landowner which reflects the heart of God. He loves us. He longs for the very last soul to be saved. As Scripture says, The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard "delay," but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, (2 Pet. 3:9). If this is the heart of our Lord then it must become our heart as well. We are His body. We must think as the head thinks. We must do as the head directs. The Lord is looking for more to come into His harvest field. Are we going out to find them, or are we expecting them to come in to find us? Do we think that they are too lazy and deserve whatever they get? May it not be so!
This idea that the landowner goes out at the last hour is compelling. It's been a long day. Everyone's tired. Who wouldn't want to just finish up and go home? Not the landowner. Not our God. His heart beats for every last soul. There are still men idle in the marketplace. Maybe they can be saved, even from themselves. Do we share the same heart? Are we diligent after lost souls? Are we willing to go look for them even in the last hour; even when we are spent and tired? Will we try to find just one more? It is the heart of our King? Do we share it?
I hope this story grips you like it does me. I hope that if you are finding yourself lost you will come in. I hope that if you are a Christian that you will be compelled to go after lost souls today. Compel them to come in, as our Lord says. They may be lazy and unfriendly, but our Lord loves them. We must go to get them.
Don't let the lesson of the parable fade from memory. Maybe we need to read it every day. Make it your priority now and always. So when the Master calls it "a day" on that last Day there will be many more souls lining up for their wages because we were diligent to go out at the last hour.