Better Late Than Never!
And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? ~Matthew 20:6
A workers strike can have a very serious impact on necessary services. Examples of this are if the nurses working for a hospital or the workers of a city’s waste management service strike, their unavailability can cripple and greatly hinder necessary services. It is an incredible relief when the collective bargaining reaches a satisfactory agreement at the “eleventh hour.” The eleventh hour means the latest possible time before things could get bad. This morning, let us see the importance of deciding at the eleventh hour, or better late than never.
We see the inspection.
“And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?” The owner of the vineyard made offers for men to work in his vineyard beginning at the start of the day. He went out at the third and sixth hours, found men available, and made them offers. He went out at the eleventh hour and still found more men who were available. The key phrase is “about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others….” Like the owner of the vineyard, God is looking for men. He is looking for men who will get saved. He is looking for men who will serve. He is looking for men to surrender. The thought is that He is looking before the time is up.
We see the idleness.
He “found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?” The owner knew that the time was late, but shockingly, the men standing around idle were not bothered by the lateness of the hour. These men had been “all the day idle”! They were available to be hired earlier in the day, but they let the opportunity pass them by. Idleness is when we are nonproductive with our time and energy. It is letting golden opportunities slip by us. It is being undisturbed and indifferent to the lateness of the hour. Standing idle at the eleventh hour meant they would have no pay or means to supply for their family for that day. Perhaps the Lord is asking you, “Why stand ye here all the day idle?”
We see the imperative.
“He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.” It was imperative that these men accept the offer and go to the vineyard. We see the fervency behind the imperative. They needed to go now or it would be too late. They needed to go without delay and distraction. They needed to make the most of the eleventh hour. We see the fairness behind the imperative. The owner said, “Whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.” In other words, he would treat them fairly and no differently than the workers who accepted his offer earlier in the day. We see the fear embedded in the imperative. It is critical that we make the decision to accept God’s offer of salvation and to serve Him before it is too late.
We see the instruction.
“So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” First, the eleventh hour is the very last opportunity before it is too late. A sinner can be saved at the eleventh hour. Surrender to full-time service can still be done at the eleventh hour. You can still give a special offering before it is too late. You can still serve the Lord before it is too late. However, the choice is yours. The eleventh hour is before you: better late than never!