by Dr. Jack Hyles
Matthew 20:1-7 “For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out to hire laborers into his vineyard. (2) And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. (3) And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, (4) And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. (5) Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. (6) 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? (7) They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.”
I’m going to speak on the subject, “God and I Don’t Always Agree.” God and I don’t always agree. We get along fairly well, but we don’t always agree. I could give a subtitle to the message “Whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.” I’ll read it for you in our text. “Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.” Now I’m going to read two other verses for you. Listen carefully.
“But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny” Now, that’s a measure of money, but not like our penny. “And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?” I call your attention to the little statement that’s made on more than one occasion here: “Whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.”
This will be one of the most unusual sermons, because I’m going to tell you how God and I sometimes have a little controversy with each other. I want you to listen carefully, especially toward the last half of the message.
Let me tell you the story. A certain man went out to hire some workers to work in a field. The Bible says he goes out early in the day. We find out later on in the story that it was six o’clock in the morning. he hires some workers to work in his field. Then we find that he needs some more, so he goes out at nine o’clock in the morning to hire some more workers to work in his field. he goes out again at noon and hires some more workers to work in his field. He goes out at three o’clock in the afternoon and hires some more workers to work in his field. he goes out at five o’clock and hires some more workers to work in his field. All of them work until six o’clock at night. That means that some people worked twelve hours, and some people worked nine hours, and some people worked six hours, and some people worked three hours, and some people worked one hour. Now, when pay time came, he gave them all exactly the same amount of money. Those that went to work early in the morning began to complain about it. They said, “This is not fair because we’ve worked twelve hours. These rascals over here get the same amount of money we get, and they’ve only worked for one hour. It’s not fair.” Now, I’ll be honest with you. This parable has always bothered me. They got the same wages – I don’t mean per hour, I mean per day. The fellow that worked one hour got exactly the same amount of money that the fellow got who worked for twelve hours. What is God trying to teach us, here? Don’t miss this statement here. What is God trying to teach us? I believe God is trying to teach us that we do not always agree with Him. I know I dead sure don’t. I don’t agree with God here. You think it’s fair – now be honest – Do you think it’s fair for the fellow who works for twelve hours, all the day long in the hot sun and the heat of the day, and he gets the same wage as the fellow who works from five until six in the evening? I don’t believe that, but God does. It doesn’t make sense. I just don’t agree with God on this parable. I cannot see that it’s right for a man who works twelve hours to be paid the same as a man who works one hour. By the way, that’s what faith is. Faith is believing that God is right, even when we disagree. Don’t miss this now. See, you and I don’t think like God. You say, “It doesn’t make sense to me.” But see, it so happens that you and I are flesh. I’m convinced that one of the reasons that God put this parable here is to let us know that we don’t always see things just eye to eye. I cannot see the logic, but I know it’s right. You say it’s right to give a fellow the same wages from five to six as you give the fellow that worked twelve hours? Yeah. You say, “You believe it’s right?” No, I don’t believe it’s right – but I believe it’s right, because I trust God’s judgment more than mine, you see. It doesn’t make sense to me, but it doesn’t have to make sense to me.
Let me give you our definition of faith. This is what faith is to you: “I have confidence to believe that He will do it like I think it should be done.” When you say, “I have lost my faith in Him.” It means that He finally did something like you didn’t think it ought to be done. Now, that’s not faith at all. You didn’t have faith in Him. You didn’t have faith in Mr. Sisson over here until he did something with your child that you didn’t agree with. You say, “Well, I’ve lost my faith in him.” No, you never had any faith in him. You only believed he was right if you agreed with the way you would have done it, but it so happens you’ve never been a principal of an elementary school.
That’s the great secret of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. Most of you have never pastored a church, and because you’ve never pastored a church, when I do something you don’t agree with, you believe that I know more about pastoring a church than you do, and you trust me. That’s what faith is. But our definition of faith – I’ll give it again: “I have confidence to believe that He will do it like I think it should be done.” And that is the kind of feeling that most of you have in your leaders. That’s not faith. For example, I can’t lead a choir. It would be a joke. I could make them stand up together, and sit down together, and hold their books right, but you have never heard such a special as we would have if I led the choir. But there’s sometimes that you might lead the choir, that I don’t think you’re doing it right. But faith is, I think you’re right and I’m wrong when I disagree with you. I’ll say it again – that is the great secret of this church. You don’t agree with me sometimes, but you say, “I’ve never pastored a church, and if I have you could put my church in a corner of one of these sections. I’ve never had the load to carry that Bro. Hyles has to carry, so I don’t agree with him always, but when I disagree, I think he’s right and I’m wrong concerning the work of the church.
The next step is this. First step, I have confidence to believe He will do it like I think it should be done. The next step in faith is this: I cannot see it, but God will explain it someday and then I will understand.” That is not pure faith. You say, “I trust God to explain later the things I don’t understand. I think that someday he would explain to me, so I trust Him. Isn’t that pure faith?” No, it is dead sure better than the first one, but it is not pure faith. Somebody wrote a song, “We Will Understand It Better All By and By.” Now, you say, “Okay, God and I don’t agree on this. I would not have done it this way if I had been God, but I believe that one day God will explain it.”
Now, that is better than the first, but pure faith is, “I agree with God, but if I don’t see it eye to eye, I think He’s right and I’m wrong. And if I die, and never understand why He did what He did, I still believe God was right and I was wrong. If I get to Heaven and in eternity, I never learn why God did what He did, I still believe that God was right and I was wrong. Pure faith. Let me give you the three steps again: No faith is, “I have faith in Him as long as He does it like I think it should be done.” (That’s what most of you have). Second, “I have faith to believe that He is right and I am wrong, and someday I will understand.” Third (pure faith) is this: “I don’t agree with God, but if I never find out why it was for good, I still believe that God is right.”
I’m going to tell you some things that God and I disagree about. Follow me carefully. This is going to shock you. You may fire me after this sermon. I’ll just get my Bermuda shorts out and go to Florida and play shuffleboard. I don’t agree with God that Aiken and his family should have been stoned because he got that wedge of gold and that Babylonian garment. Here is a guy that got a new coat and a piece of gold for his wife. That’s all he did. Now, I think he should have gone to jail for a month, but he got stoned to death. And his wife was stoned to death, and she didn’t have anything to do with it! Before I get through, you’re not going to believe in God.
See, your God has to do it like you see it. That’s not the true and living God. That’s idolatry. Let’s go a step further. I don’t think God should have killed Ananias and Saphira because they didn’t give all the money they got for their house. That doesn’t make sense to me. I’m sorry. I love You. I trust You, but I don’t agree with You. I expected lightning to strike. But now wait a minute, I don’t agree with that. I just think that was over doing it. Here’s a couple – they may have tithed and gotten killed for it. They sold a house and did not give all the profits to God, and God killed them! I mean right there in church! I don’t agree with that.
I don’t agree with God in letting Peter preach at Pentecost. I think John should have preached on Pentecost. Here’s a guy who fifty days ago was cussing. Fifty days ago he denied Jesus. Fifty days ago he denied the Faith. Fifty days ago he said he didn’t belong to the First Baptist Church of Jerusalem. Fifty days, and now look at that rascal! That cussin’ man who left Jesus in His darkest hour – I don’t think Peter ought to have preached on Pentecost. I think John the Beloved should have preached on Pentecost. Anybody here still believe in God?
I’ll tell you something else I don’t believe in. I don’t believe God should have put Rahab the harlot in Hebrews chapter eleven. You understand that here was a gal that was a prostitute – sold her body to wicked men. She sold her body to the sales men who came into Jericho, and God put her in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews! I don’t agree with that. By the way, you don’t either. If she came to First Baptist Church, you wouldn’t even sit within ten rows of her. But God put that former whore in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. I just don’t agree with it. I just do not agree. And while we’re talking about this, I don’t think God made a good choice in Saul to be the king. While we’re talking about this, this is where I really have a controversy with God: I don’t believe God should have chosen Jacob to make a prince and named the nation Israel after Jacob. Why that sorry, good-for-nothin’, effeminate. . .he wore an earring, I think. He probably wore a necklace. He’s home making chili while his brother is out hunting. God have mercy on his sissy soul! Nothing irritates me any more than to be in a hotel room and trying to get some news, and some man is cooking. Men weren’t made to cook! Men weren’t made to wash the dishes. But this sorry rascal deceived his brother, and got the birthright (which means he got the double portion of his father’s inheritance). He got to be in the lineage of the Messiah, and he was given the priestly rights in the family. That’s what he stole from his brother. And then, when his father was sick, he tricked his father, made his father think he was his brother, and got the blessings that Esau should have gotten. Why, you sorry Jacob! And do you know what God did? He turned around and named an entire nation after him. He named His nation after him. I think they ought to be called the “Abrahamites” instead of the Israelites. I’m saying I don’t always agree with God.
I don’t agree that God should have chosen three murderers to write over a third of the Bible. Four elevenths of the chapters of the Bible were written by murders – Moses, Paul, and David. Now, you wouldn’t do that. I’m saying I’ve got some problems with God today. I don’t agree. While we’re griping, this is one that I need some explanation about. Do you know who God called the wisest man in the whole world? A guy who had seven hundred wives and three hundred substitutes. God called him the wisest man in the whole world. I have some problems with God, here. I don’t agree with God for sending the flood. I don’t agree with God for sending the flood. I don’t agree with God in calling David a man after His own heart. I really think this is dirty – I don’t believe it was right when Moses didn’t get to see the Promised Land or go in it. All he did was lose his temper. Do you ever lose your temper? Moses lost his temper, got mad at the southerners (he said, “Whoa, ye rebels!”). You’d better watch it. God has a certain hedge He’s built around southern people. I don’t agree.
I don’t agree that God should let Satan do what he did to Job. I don’t agree that God should turn Lot’s wife just because she looked back. That’s all she did. Now, I don’t agree with that. It doesn’t say she did anything else. She just looked back. I don’t agree. I don’t agree that God should use David to write so much of His Bible after his sins. I don’t believe that God should choose Jonah for the great revival in Ninevah. I don’t agree that God should have chosen a man with Matthew’s dishonest background to be an apostle and writer the first book in the New Testament. I don’t believe that God should have made Isaac marry somebody he had never seen. I mean, this guy went out to the home country and brought a bride. She may have weighed five hundred pounds. She may have had a big wart right on the end of her nose. She may have had only one tooth. It didn’t matter. I don’t believe in a fellow having to marry someone he’s never seen.
I don’t agree in blessing Old Testament men that had several wives. I don’t agree with God there. I don’t agree with that. I don’t agree with God giving the prodigal son more attention than he gave the son who stayed home and worked all the time. I don’t agree with that. I don’t agree with God allowing my mother to have to go through the many battles that she had to endure. I don’t agree with the many battles that have come my way all these years. I don’t agree with God making Mrs. Evans endure what she goes through. And to be quite frank with you, I don’t really understand the plan of salvation. Oh, I know it. But, it looks to me like a guy that lives a really good life, ought to go to Heaven. Here’s that thief on the cross…He never did one solitary thing but trust Jesus. He goes to Heaven. Then there’s a guy that never stole anything, never robbed anybody, never committed a crime, but he dies and goes to Hell. That doesn’t make sense to me, but bless God, it doesn’t have to make sense to me!
I believe God is right. I’ve said all these things I would have done differently from God. But, in every area, I believe God is right and I am wrong. He may choose some day to explain to me why He is right and I am wrong, but He doesn’t have to explain to me. I still believe that God is right. I believe that God was right when he put Rahab in the “hall of heroes” in Hebrews eleven. I believe God was right when He chose Peter to preach on Pentecost. I believe God was right when He sent the flood. I believe God was right when He killed Ananias and Saphira. I’m saying I don’t agree with Him, but I’m flesh and He’s God. I’m weak, He’s strong. I’m sinful, He’s perfect. he’s God. He makes no mistakes! You say, Bro. Hyles, we’ll understand it better by and by. We may, but I don’t have to. If God never tells me when I get to Heaven why these things happened, He is still my God and I trust Him. For, He is God; He is good; He is omniscient; and, he is right.
The greatest joy of the Christian life is to trust Him and need no explanation. The greatest thing that you can do for God, is to trust Him and ask for no explanation, either here or in eternity. So, God was right when He stoned Aiken. God was right when He killed Ananias and Saphira. God was right when He chose Peter to preach on Pentecost. God was right in putting Rahab the harlot in the “hall or heroes.” God was right in choosing Saul to be king. God was right to make Jacob a prince and to name a nation after him. God was right to choose three ex-murderers to write four elevenths of the Bible. God was right when He called Solomon the wisest man in the world. God was right when He sent the flood. God was right when He called David a man after his own heart. God was right by not letting Moses enter into the Promised Land. God was right in letting Satan do what he did to Job. God was right in turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt. God was right in using David to write so much of the Bible after his great sins. God was right to choose Jonah to preach the great revival in Ninevah. God was right to choose Matthew as an apostle. God was right to give Isaac a wife he had never seen. God was right to bless Old Testament men who had more than one wife. God was right in not letting Paul tell us what he saw in the third heaven. God was right when the prodigal son got more attention than the faithful son that stayed home.
God was right. He is always right. He is God. It pleases God when you and I look to Him, and you can say, “I don’t understand everything. I may not agree with everything. But, I’m wrong, and You’re right.” For He maketh no mistakes. He is God; He’s good; and He’s omniscient. As our text said this morning, “Whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.”
by Jack Hyles