Teamwork - The Warrior's Journey®


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“These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day” (Matthew 20:12) 

This parable only occurs in Matthew’s gospel.  It is a story of God rewarding us based on the opportunity given to us, rather than simply on length of service and amount of labor.  It’s good news to the one who only comes to faith in Christ after wasting many fruitless years.  But this parable is also a source of frustration to those who have followed Christ for their entire lives.  To them it seems unfair that everyone receives the same award, even though the labor was not evenly distributed. 

 Yet, in all honesty, what can be greater than the “common” reward for all who serve the Lord in this life?  Can we improve upon God’s gift of eternal life, the free gift of His righteousness, or the eternal dwelling in His heavenly home?  Anything we add to these rewards is eclipsed by the glory of what God gives us freely. 

But there’s more to this parable.  It also speaks of teamwork and how all suffer a common defeat or common victory.  Think about it.  Those who were hired first – at 0600 – probably worked at a slower, steady pace.  By the end of the day, their strength was diminished and their output meager.  On the other hand, those who were hired later in the day, probably tried to squeeze more work into fewer hours.   

And those who were hired last most likely “gutted it out” and worked furiously to ensure the harvest was completed.  Instead of “getting over,” these “last-hour” workers would be viewed more as a unit held in reserve until a critical moment in the battle.  Then they were rushed in to save the day and secure the victory.  What soldier, when exhausted and despairing, complains about the relief column that rescues them at the last minute and turns defeat into victory? 

The complaint of the “all-day” workers to the employer is, “You have made them equal to us!”  But isn’t that the essential part of teamwork?  In a team each member sacrifices personal achievement and glory for the common good of the team and the accomplishment of the mission.  Some will contribute more than others.  But everybody’s contribution achieved success for the team.  Without the last-minute effort of the relief workers the harvest would not have been completed.  Therefore, all the workers share in common reward. 


  • Do you ever feel as though you habitually do more than your share of work? 
  • But what reward are you seeking?  Personal recognition and advancement?  Are those the right motives to have in a team? 
  • Jesus told us to do things to please God rather than man, then our reward in heaven will be great (Matthew 6).  Learn to appreciate the contribution of others. 

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