The Worth of Work Determined by the Spirituality of its Motive
Matthew 20:1-16
For the kingdom of heaven is like to a man that is an householder…

The Church is composed, indeed, of those who have confessed Christ; but it is a society, existing for certain purposes, and, as such, it has its machinery for the carrying out of these purposes, like any other society that has been formed in the world. Now, the keeping of any part of that machinery in motion is in itself no more a spiritual work than the carrying-on of any other machinery; and if it is not done with a spiritual motive, then, even though it be done for the Church, it is not spiritual work such as God can value and reward. Thus, in a missionary society, the great object is spiritual; but it has to be sustained and carried on like any other business society; its books have to be kept like those of any commercial firm, and he who keeps them is not in that doing a spiritual work, any more than a bookkeeper in a mercantile house is doing a spiritual work. The mercantile bookkeeper may make his work spiritual by doing it as unto the Lord; but the missionary bookkeeper will make his secular if he does it simply for his wages, and as work. So, again, in the office of the ministry, there is much in common with ordinal" departments of life. It gratifies literary tastes; it affords opportunities for study; it has associated with it a certain honour and esteem in the eyes of others; it furnishes occasions for the thrill that every real orator feels in the delivery of a message to his fellow-men, and the like. Now, if a man is in the ministry simply for these kinds of enjoyment, there is no more spirituality in his work, than there is in that of the litterateur, or the political orator. Theirs may be spiritual, indeed, if they are doing it out of love to God; but his must be merely secular if he does it only from such motives as have place in ordinary literature or eloquence.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

WEB: "For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who was the master of a household, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.

The World a Market-Place
Top of Page
Top of Page