By Doug Franklin November 10, 2020

Jesus tells this story of a landowner who wants to hire men.

He goes to the market where people looking for work hang out. The landowner starts at 6am and hires a few guys. He comes back at 9am, 12noon, and again at 3pm. He is hiring anyone who is willing to work. He hires his last man around 5pm, giving them just one hour to work.

As you know, the landowner decides to pay every man equally, making the men hired in the early morning angry.

In this story, Jesus is the landowner and we are the hired workers. We tell this story to illustrate why God lets people go to heaven who come to know him in the last days and hours of their lives.

But what about the men hired early in the day, what do they have to teach us? They can teach us a lot about what it means to be faithful. Think for a minute about the students in your ministry who accept Christ early in life, and have no sensational story of transformation to tell, no story of drug abuse or near-death conversion.

How do we encourage them with what God is doing in their lives? How do we express the value to them of following Christ for their entire life?

I am a 6am worker. I came to know Christ at the age of 5, and I have spent my whole life serving the church. My goal is to accept my wage and be joyful for all the ones that Christ saves. Faithfulness is my goal. It’s not exciting or glamorous. It’s hard frustrating work, and it’s difficult at times to celebrate what God is so graciously doing for others. I often find myself being empathetic to the older brother in the Prodigal Son story. I am thankful for the pull of faithfulness yanking me back.

I believe we need to place a higher value on faithfulness. We need to tell stories of whole lives that are given to Christ. Here is my idea: ask senior men and women from your church to come to your youth group and tell stories of faithfulness. I would call these legacy stories. Students need to see the value for being hired early and for spending a whole life serving their Lord.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More