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Daily Verse: “But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?” (Matthew 20:13 ESV)
HETAIROS (2063): “A companion, comrade,” is translated fellows (Mt. 11:16). The word is used only by Matthew and is translated as “friend.”[I]
Friends work together.
Matthew uses a word no other author in the Bible does; he describes the laborers as “friends.” Needing workers for his vineyards, the farmer pays the helpers, one denarius, the going rate for day laborer’s efforts. As time proceeds, the master recruits more help, paying them all the same wage, whether they worked 8 hours or 1 hour. Tired and hot from toiling in the sun for their employer, grumbling erupts as everyone receives equal pay.
“Friend (hetairos), I am doing you no wrong.” Says the master to his workers. Each person working a full day agreed to set wages, while those recruited later didn’t. Instead, when the farmer said, “Whatever is right, I will give you,” they trusted him and went on about their business (Matthew 20:5 ESV).
God considers us companions.
Matthew’s use of “Hetairos” to describe the laborers means the master considered them companions and comrades. Everyone works towards the same goal, harvesting the vineyard. Even though the master wasn’t in the fields, he recruited more help to accomplish the task faster.
Some people, like myself, met Jesus early in life. Others don’t enter a relationship with God’s Son until taking their last breath. Length of service doesn’t determine the reward. Aligning our lives with God’s mission, whether young or old, means we reap the same benefit, eternal life. The longer we serve the Lord, God willing, the more people who enjoy the benefits of heaven with us.
Don’t become bitter because others haven’t put in the same effort as you. Rejoice that they joined the mission, planting seeds in the fields where God placed them. When Christ calls us home, you won’t care they joined the party late. You’ll rejoice they came at all.
Working for Christ means becoming His comrade. Companions for life, our mission never ends. Love God, love others until the day your heavenly Father calls you home.
[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. (p 104) Thomas Nelson