The Kingdom of Heaven is Like… Payday in a Vineyard

(Message 3) Have you heard it said, “the last will be first, and the first will be last”? What did Jesus mean by this? Here’s another question, what do Jeffrey Dahmer (a horrible serial killer), and Corrie Ten Boom (a holocaust survivor) have in common? Find the answers as we take a look at how, “The Kingdom of Heaven is Like… Payday in a Vineyard”. #GCKingdomIsLike


  • Is more generous than us
  • Does what He pleases



  • We get more than we deserve


Start reading.

Key Scripture:

Matthew 19:25-30

25 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. 26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” 27 Then Peter said to him, “We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?” 28 Jesus replied, “I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.

Matthew 20:1-16

1 “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work. 3 “At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. 4 So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day.  5 So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing. 6 “At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?” 7 “They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’ “The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’ 8 “That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. 9 When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. 10 When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. 11 When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, 12 ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’  13 “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? 14 Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. 15 Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’ 16 “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”

Start talking. Find a conversation starter for your group.

  • What was the best job you’ve ever had? What made it your favorite?

Start thinking. Ask a question to get your group thinking.

  • Read Matthew 19:25-30. Was Peter’s heart in the right place?  What did Jesus mean by his statement in v. 30? Are you ever guilty of attempting to “make yourself great?” How?
  • Read Matthew 20:1-16.  Did those who were hired at 6am have a point?  How is God’s arithmetic different from ours?  
  • Troy told the story of Jeffrey Dahmer’s salvation.  Have you ever felt like the church member who said, “If Jeffrey Dahmer is in going to heaven, then I don’t want to be there.” Why? How can we combat/overcome those feelings?
  • How do we keep from getting the mindset of a 6am worker? What do you do as a Christian to stay humble and grateful for salvation?

Start sharing. Choose a question to create openness.

  • Describe a time when you witnessed God’s favor on a marriage, job promotion, baby’s arrival, or a family with great kids. Were you jealous or envious? Did you think they deserved it? How did you respond?
  • Have you personally ever felt that you deserve blessings from God because of how you serve him or things you have done for Him? Share with the group. What was the outcome?
  • The last will be first and the first will be last – Do you want to be first or last? God wants us to humble ourselves and serve Him willingly, not grudgingly. Are you willing to sacrifice and put yourself in the last place? In what specific areas do you need to be willing to be last?

Start doing. Commit to a step and live it out this week.

  • Commit this week to seeking God and asking Him to show you where you need to serve others? What do you need to sacrifice personally? 

Start praying. Be bold and pray with power.

  • God, help us to use you as the example of how we are supposed to serve others. You gave Your life away for us. Please help us to do that same things for others. Give us humility and compassion when dealing with the people you have place in our path. – Amen 

Start digging. For further study.


Troy Knight

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