In two parables of Jesus, the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16), and the parable of the two sons (Matthew 21:28-31), one point among many is that the kingdom of heaven is a place for work, not idleness. As we do our work in the vineyard of the Lord, we demonstrate God’s wisdom and we glorify God (Ephesians 3:10-11, 21).
In keeping with the idea of a vineyard, we bear fruit for God (John 15:8; Romans 7:4). We bear fruit in many ways:
- Brotherly love (John 15:12).
- Caring for the poor (Romans 15:26-28).
- Demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 22-23).
- Abiding in Christ (John 15:5-7).
- Contributing to the work of the church (Philippians 4:15-17.
- Growing as a Christian (1 Peter 2:1-2).
- “Hiring” laborers into the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-9; Luke 10:2; John 4:35-38).
- Doing every good work (Colossians 1:10).
The reward at the end of the day for workers is a crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8). Peter expresses the reward as “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (1 Peter 1:3-5). The “crown of righteousness” is also referred to as a “crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Paul wrote, “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2). We had best remember that our work in this vineyard will be called into question on the judgment day, for the ones who are unfaithful are “gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned” (John 15:2, 6; cp. Matthew 25:41).