The Parable of the Generous Landowner (Matthew Sermon 94 of 151)
March 29, 2009 | Andrew Davis
I love the words of David Livingstone who was a courageous pioneer, a Scottish missionary in the 19th century, whose exploratory work in the dark continent of Africa opened the way for many other missionaries that followed to penetrate the African interior with the gospel. This is a man who endured immense suffering for the cause of Christ. He was once attacked by a lion on the mission field, crushing his shoulder to the point where its mobility would be hindered the rest of his life. David Livingstone married and deeply loved Mary Moffat, who was the daughter of a missionary hero and leader, but because of the difficulty of travel, the various sicknesses that ..., he would spend more than half of their 18 years of married life separate from his beloved wife. The couple lost a child to sickness on the mission field, and later, Livingstone lost his own beloved wife as well to sickness, directly related to their mission work. And during his time in Africa, Livingstone once went three years without any correspondence from the outside world from friends or family, because those letters just couldn't reach him where he was in Africa.
But for all of this on December 4, 1857, he was speaking to students of Cambridge University about his years of missionary service, and this is what he said, “For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blessed reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter. Away with the word in such a view, away with such a thought. It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger now and then, with the forgoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life may make us pause, may cause the spirit to waiver, may cause the soul to sink. But let this only be for a moment. All of these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall hereafter be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not to talk when we remember the great sacrifice which he made who left his Father's throne on high to give himself for us.”
Oh, may that be my sweet attitude the rest of my life, “I never made a sacrifice.” Now, of course for some Christians, it may in some sense literally be true, sadly. There are some Christians that really don't sacrifice much for Jesus. Following Jesus doesn't really cost them much at all, they don't leave any place of safety or comfort for Jesus. If anything, Jesus and following Him has been an enhancer in their already pretty good life. But I'm not speaking of that, I'm speaking of a different kind of life, a life of glory and honor and praise in which we actually do take up our cross daily and follow Jesus, in which we put sin to death by the power of the Holy Spirit, courageously so, and grow in glorious personal holiness, against all the pulls of the world, the flesh, and the devil. And in which we follow Jesus for the benefit and the salvation of others who need to hear the gospel. I would like to make, actually, many such sacrifices, but I would love to have David Livingstone's attitude, “I never made a sacrifice.”
Some people make much of their sacrifices. You've probably been around someone who is in the process of doing so. They talk a lot about the labor and the effort and the struggle and how hard it's been and all this kind of thing. Can you imagine Mary pouring out that perfume on the feet of Jesus, “I hope you know, Jesus, how much this is costing me. This is well over a year's wage here. I saved up, I was gonna use this on myself, but now I'm spending it on you. Hope you recognize my personal sacrifice in the matter.” Away with such a thought, perish such an attitude! And yet how easy it is for us to slip into that kind of attitude, isn't it? Like Martha who is laboring one day to get a meal ready for Jesus, you remember that? Working so hard getting all the dishes ready, getting the house straightened, all that, and there's her sister Mary, sitting at Jesus' feet and just soaking in time with Jesus. And here's the attitude, Luke 10:40, “Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to [Christ] and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’”
I think at that particular moment, she's not just put out with Mary, she's put out with Jesus. And she's not quite sure why it is that Jesus is rewarding her behavior at that particular moment. The Lord wants us to learn to make sacrifices. Yes, there are times like Martha to be very, very busy in the service of the Lord, but it's easy to lose perspective and we start to have a hard heart, even toward the Lord, and say, “Don't you care? Don't you see all the things I'm doing? All of my labors for you.” And to start having hard feelings toward other servants of the Lord and see their labors as insignificant, as though what they're doing isn't anywhere near as costly as what we're giving, that kind of thing. I believe it's in destroying that kind of attitude, for the reason of destroying that attitude, that Jesus told the parable we're studying today, the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard, or of the Generous Landowner.
Understanding the Context: “The First will Be Last, and the Last First”
So let's try to understand the context. Peter is concerned about their own sacrifices, his and the other apostles, and the topic of treasure in Heaven had come up with the rich young ruler, and Peter is interested in the topic of treasure in Heaven. He said, “Lord, we have left everything to follow you, what then will there be for us?” And Jesus does in fact promise them lavish rewards, “At the renewal of all things,” He says, “When the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, then you who have followed me will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” So they're going to be lavishly rewarded, and anyone, everyone who follows Jesus will receive a hundred times what they give up, even in this life, and in the age to come, eternal life, he says.
Jesus’ Final Statement…Repeated
But at the end of that teaching, if you look at chapter 19 and verse 30, the last verse of the previous chapter, Jesus said this statement, “Many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” This is a surprising statement. What could this mean? And I think He tells this parable to explain what He means, that many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first, look at verse 1 of chapter 20, “For the kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard.” So the word “for” means He's going to explain what He means in the previous verse, that many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. And I think this is very important because He repeats the doctrine at the end of the parable, verse 16, look at Matthew 20:16, “So the last will be first and the first will be last.”
This Parable Explains The Principle “The First Will Be Last, and the Last First”
So I believe that any interpretation of this parable that does not explain whatever Jesus means by that, misses the point. This is the point, the point is that many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first or the last will be first and the first will be last. There's a kind of reversal coming, a different way of understanding things is coming, and you need to prepare yourself for it. And so I think He's getting the apostles ready to think differently about their life of sacrifice and service. Maybe they're going to be the laborers in the vineyard who spend 12 hours all day long, bearing the burden of the work in the heat of the day. How will they think about that? Will they be ready to understand the rewards that are coming on that final day, on Judgment Day?
Understanding the Parable: The Payment of Various Laborers
A Landowner Seeks Laborers
So let's understand this parable. A landowner goes out and seeks laborers to work in his vineyard. He goes out early in the morning, he is zealous, he's proactive, he's looking for workers for his vineyard. And he's agreeing to pay these laborers a denarius for the day. Verse 2, “He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.”
An Agreement Reached
Now these are day laborers. They're perhaps at the lowest level of labor in the society, They're not household slaves, they don't have a permanent place in the household, there's no protection for them at all, except that the law of Moses in Deuteronomy 24 made certain that those day laborers would get their wage at the end of the day. But then all bets are off, all arrangements are over, there's no permanent contract. As soon as that day of labor is over, they're unemployed again the next day. That's who he's hiring here.
And the denarius that they agreed to is nothing remarkable. It's actually the common rate. A denarius was equal to a day-wage for a common laborer out in the vineyard, so there was nothing that remarkable about it. He agreed to the going rate, a denarius, and sent them into the vineyard.
More Laborers Hired Throughout the Day
But then as the day unfolds the owner of the vineyard, the landowner, decides he wants more and more workers, so he continues to go out again and again and hire more people. Look at verse 3 through 5, “About the third hour, he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard and I will pay you whatever is right.’” Literally whatever is just, I will be fair in my handling of you. So these workers take this man at his word. There's no agreement about a denarius or anything, just trust my justice and go. And so they went.
The same process characterizes the whole day. Verse 5, he went out again about the sixth hour, the ninth hour, and did the same thing. Finally an hour before sunset, there's almost no time left, he goes out one last time, “About the eleventh hour,” verses 6 and 7, “he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long, doing nothing?’ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’” Now again, there's no promise of pay, there's no denarius agreed to. As a matter of fact, he doesn't even say I'll pay you anything. He doesn't say like he did with the second hiring, “I'll pay you whatever is right,” he just says, “Go and work in my vineyard.” So these men just go, hoping against hope that they might get something for their labor. And they go and work for that hour.
Payday, and the Last are Paid First
Now it's time for pay. In verse 8, “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’” This is the first surprise, that the ones that are hired last are honored in that they get their wage first. They are preferred, they are chosen to be paid first. And this, I think, is at least in a literalistic sort of sense, the honor that Christ was referring to in 19 and verse 30, “Many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first,” and again in verse 16, “So the last will be first and the first will be last.” So these men that are just hired at the end of the day, after not doing anything all day long, they just come and work for one hour, and they are honored by getting their wage first, everyone else has to wait.
The Surprising Generosity of the Landowner
But we also see the surprising generosity of the landowner. He gives them a denarius for one hour of work. This is entirely unexpected. There's no way they could have demanded it, no way they could have had a sense that this is what they deserved. They must have been overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude toward the landowner as they received whatever it is they get for their labor. It's actually to some degree I think a 12-fold increase of wage. Twelve times what they could have expected to get because they only worked 1/12 of the day. It's really astonishing generosity. Now the other workers, those hired second and third in the middle part of the day, we have no idea what happened to them. I guess the assumption is that they also received a denarius. But we have nothing said about them, in any case.
The Complaint by the Hardest Workers
But now come the laborers who have been there all day. Look at Verses 10 through 12, “So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. And when they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner, ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us, who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’”
Now this is an ugly little moment in Biblical history, an ugly little moment of human nature being revealed. But oddly enough, now just be honest, doesn't their complaint actually make a little bit of sense to you? Don't you feel like, actually, you know, if I were a lawyer, I probably could press this case. I think there's something about equal pay for equal work and this seems like a case of discrimination to me. Aren't there laws about that? And something's wrong, there's some kind of favoritism going on here. I have to admit it makes sense to me, but then the flip side makes sense too. How could we argue against getting what we agreed to get?
And so we're a bit puzzled by the whole justice thing here. It seems unfair, your attitude at least it seems in Jesus' mind, is abominable. The owner literally says their eye is evil, they are jealous in some sense, their focus is completely on themselves, their sacrifices, their labor. They've worked harder, they've worked longer, they've borne the burden of the work, they've borne the heat of the day. I find it interesting, as you study the parables of Jesus that have to do with labor, how many times the workers bring some kind of charge against the master or king or owner. It happens in the parables, the Parable of the Five Talents, Two Talents, and One Talent. Remember that one? The one with the one talent hides it in the ground, and when he gives his reason for why he did it, he said, “I know that you're a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed,” you are harsh, you're unjust, you're unfair in what you do.
You get the same thing in the Parable of the Ten Minas, just almost exactly the same words in Luke 19:21, “‘I was afraid of you,’ he said, ‘Because you're a hard man, you take out what you did not put in and you reap what you did not sow.’” And then there's the elder brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. You remember his attitude. He's standing on the outside looking in, he's not coming into that party, no way. Prodigal son has returned and the father throws a party for him, and the older brother is enraged, at the father's lavish generosity. And he's standing on the outside and will not come in, and the father comes out to beg him to enter, and he said, “Look! all these years I have been slaving for you and I've never disobeyed your orders, yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, well you kill the fattened calf for him.”
What a poisonous attitude, all three of these parables display the poisonous human attitude toward God's sovereign generosity. I wanna talk more about that theme next week, God's sovereign generosity, how He is free to be as generous as he wants with his own things. We'll talk about that more next week. But there's a poisonous attitude here.
The Assertion of the Landowner’s Right to be Generous
So the landowner has to assert his right to be generous, verses 13 through 15, “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I'm not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’” Now there's a lot of truth in what he says there. I'm going to go into it in more in detail next time with God's sovereign generosity. But there's no matter of injustice here, friends, not at all. This is a matter of generosity, this is a matter of grace, a matter of freedom, and the owner has the right to be as generous as he wants to be. There's no matter of injustice. Take your denarius and go away. You got what you worked for, you got what you labored for. Justice is yours, you get what you deserve. And Christ's final word on this in verse 16 is, “So the last will be first and the first will be last.”
Understanding the Options: Two Choices
Alright, so how are we to interpret this parable? I think there are two good options. One of them I think is a little bit better than the other. My own mind has changed on this parable, and I don't know if I'll succeed in changing yours, but these are two biblical themes that step forward to offer interpretations to these parables, both of the themes are true, but is this what Jesus was telling the parable for? That's the question I'm asking.
Option #1: The Parable is About Eternal Life as a Free Gift
So what is the first way of interpreting this parable? Well, the focus of that interpretation is that everybody gets the same reward no matter how much they work. You work 12 hours, you work one hour, you get the denarius. Everybody gets the denarius. One hour of work, the denarius. Twelve hours of work, you get the denarius.
The focus then is on the denarius, the reward, and this interpretive approach says that this has to do with eternal life and those blessings of the gospel, which are equally enjoyed by everyone, no matter how much work you put in for the kingdom. And so your labor, your work for Christ, your sacrifices, your efforts does not directly connect to the eternal reward. You don't get more of that reward if you work harder. It's simply by grace. And so in some sense it's talking about the blessings of eternal life, the blessings of the gospel, that everyone has access to equally, in no way connected to their work, their labor. I think this is possible in verse 29 of Matthew 19, Jesus says, “Everyone who's left houses or brothers or sisters or father, mother, children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” So eternal life is at least somewhere in Jesus' view, He's thinking about it. It could be the denarius then represents eternal life, and that everyone gets the same access to that if they simply believe in Jesus.
So if you're a sinner, you've come here today, you've never trusted in Jesus, completely disconnected from any work you may ever do or hope to do, the Lord offers you freely eternal life. He offers you full forgiveness of all of your sins, past, present, and future, you can't work for that. He offers you adoption into the family of God, that you could be a child of God. You can't work for that. That he gives you the indwelling Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing the full inheritance, that when you die, your spirit will be made perfect, and you will be in the very presence of God. At the glorious resurrection day, you will have a resurrection body, every bit as fair and glorious as anybody else's, not in any way connected with your labor or how hard you worked.
And then there will be a multitude greater than anyone could count, standing around that throne, from every tribe and language and people and nation, and they will be before the throne and they will be falling down before God, and any crowns that they have, they'll be throwing before Jesus, some more and some fewer, but it doesn't matter. We're all on our faces before Jesus, giving Him glory and praise, and everyone gets free access to that who has trusted in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.
And so I'm pleading with you, if you've never trusted in Jesus, you've never believed in Him, that you might trust in Him for the forgiveness of your sins, that you might receive these blessings, that you might be able to drink water from the river of life that's going to flow clear as crystal from the throne of God, that you might be able to eat from the tree of life that stands on each side of that river and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations, that you might actually partake and see those glorious sights, just as clearly and beautifully as anyone else who ever labored for Jesus, that it might be yours.
And these are given freely by faith, apart from works, you can't earn them. It doesn't matter how long you serve Christ, with what great sacrifice, how many years of labor or minutes even of labor, it's available for you. I would say the chief witness to this truth would be the thief on the cross, wouldn't you? The thief on the cross is there next to Jesus, he's dying, he looks over to Jesus and he says, “Remember me, Lord, when you come in your kingdom,” and he says, the Lord Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” What did that man do? What could he do? His hands were nailed, they couldn't move, his feet were nailed, they couldn't move. There were no good works he could do.
And oh, how offensive is that theme to some non-Christians by the way. Somebody on murderer's row, all they have to do is pray a prayer and they can be forgiven of everything and go to Heaven when they die, have equal access to the table of God? “Oh no, no, That's unjust, that's unfair. I don't want any part of a God who would do that.” Well at the core of that attitude is that you have to earn your salvation, friends. Don't you see? You've gotta earn it, you gotta go do some good works. The thief on the cross couldn't do any good works and so they're offended by that way of thinking.
John MacArthur follows this line of interpretation. He says in this parable, Jesus wants his disciples to understand that everything they get from the master is pure grace, given sovereignly and freely, apart from anything they deserve, they cannot earn it. It's given equally and freely to all to whom the grace comes. “Believing tax collectors, prostitutes, criminals, social outcasts will have the same Heavenly residence as Paul, Augustine, Luther and Wesley. There are no servant quarters, there are no lower-class neighborhoods in Heaven, everyone will have a room in the Father's house, specially prepared for him by the Son. Every believer is a part of the church, the bride of Christ, every believer is a child of God, and a fellow heir with Christ, every believer is blessed with ‘every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places’ in Christ.”
Well, I think all of that's true, I think it's gloriously true. I think it's marvelous for us to meditate that our labors, the labors of our hands, have nothing to do with the blessings of the gospel. They're just given by grace, contrary, frankly, to what we truly deserve. Eternal life is given equally to all, regardless of their labor and service to the kingdom. But is this the purpose of the parable here? Is this why Jesus is telling the parable? I actually don't think so. First of all, the denarius was given to those who labored for 12 hours as a just payment for what they deserved. They would have looked at it that way, they got what they deserved, it was justice, they had earned their denarius. And therefore, I actually don't think that those truths that I've just been saying so vigorously, and they are true, is really being taught here concerning the denarius. I don't think the denarius represents Heaven, I don't think it represents eternal life.
Secondly, the “everyone is equal in the kingdom” view fails to deal with the reason why Jesus told the parable, and that is that some are gonna be honored above others in a surprising way. Some that we think of in this world as first are actually gonna be last, and some that we think of in this world as last, are actually gonna be honored first above everyone else.
Option #2: The Parable is About God’s Sovereign Right to Judge Our Labor
So therefore, I think that the parable is to distinguish between the servants and the vineyard and the basis by which he's going to give the rewards. It's about God's sovereign right to judge and assess our labor for the kingdom. In 1 Corinthians 4:5, it says, “Judge nothing until the appointed time. Wait till the Lord comes, he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will reveal or expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time, each will receive his praise from God.” Praise from God is the reward, motive of the heart is the connection.
What is going on in the heart during the 12 hours of labor? What's going on in the heart for that one hour of labor? That's the difference, that's what I think this parable is about. Could very well be that that one hour put in by those workers who didn't know whether they'd even get anything at all, who were just glad to be there. Nobody had hired them all day long, they were just glad to be there and just were putting themselves completely in the hands of the owner and hoped that they might get something for what they did. Might have been a sweeter hour and more of an honor and a glory to the landowner than the 12 hours cranked out by those that were hired first. I actually think so when you look at the attitude of those that come in and say, “We have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day, and you've made them equal to us.” They had jockeyed for position, they thought of themselves as better than the others.
I think people are going to be surprised by God's way of assessing on Judgment Day. I don't think it's gonna be a complete mystery. I think the Lord's given us these kinds of parables and instructions to tell us, that humble cheerful servanthood done to other brothers and sisters and for the glory of God will be highly rewarded on Judgment Day, apart from any accolades you get in this life. We know that. But do we really know it? And I think there's gonna be some people that are gonna be surprised on Judgment Day. So who's the chief witness for this interpretive approach? Well, I think it's the widow who put in the two copper coins. You remember the story in Luke 21. Jesus was watching the rich put in their gifts into the temple treasury, and “He saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘I tell you the truth,’ said Jesus, ‘this widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.’”
So what Jesus is saying is, When rewards are given for giving, financial generosity, she's gonna be at the head of the line. No one would have predicted that except that Jesus instructed us concerning it. That Jesus is actually analyzing not the quantity of work done by us, but the heart quality of it. Do we have a loving, submissive, generous, cheerful heart while we serve the Lord or not? “God loves a cheerful giver,” it says in 2 Corinthians 9:7. I don't think the 12-hour laborers were cheerful as they labored. 1 Corinthians 13:3 testifies to the truth of what I'm saying here, “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames but have not love, I gain nothing.” That's an incredibly challenging teaching, isn't it? That there is a way you can make huge sacrifices in this life and still gain nothing for it, 'cause it wasn't done with the right heart attitude. Your motive wasn't what it should have been.
Well, what should our motive be, what should our attitude be? Well, how about that of Jacob when he was working seven years to get Rachel to be his wife. You remember that? For seven years, he labored that he might have the right, that he might earn the right to her hand in marriage. And it says in Genesis 29:20, “So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” Oh Lord, may that characterize my years of service here on Earth, that I so love Jesus, that I so love His name and His glory and His honor and the advancement of His Kingdom, that I so love His people, His chosen people, that they might hear the gospel and be saved, that it seems like just a few days, or even a few hours of service by comparison.
So what application can we take from this? Well first, can you just begin by giving thanks to God that you even have a place in the vineyard at all? You realize what grace it is to be able to serve Jesus, to be able to do anything for Him at all. Imagine if he put you on the sideline, but all of your brothers and sisters were allowed to do productive labor. Wouldn't you be clamoring to get in the game? Wouldn't you want to be able to do something for Jesus? And would it really matter to you what it was? If the Lord sent two angels down from Heaven and gave one of them responsibility of governing the world, and the other the responsibility to sweep up its streets, would they not equally serve with the same joy and gladness, whatever command the master gave them?
And that's how our rewards are going to be assessed. We are His workmanship, we're created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God lays out in advance for us to walk in. Those are our good works. Nobody else can do them. You can't do any better than do the good works He's laid out ahead of you, but you perhaps can do them better than you've been doing, with a more cheerful attitude, with a sweeter disposition, with an attitude of love and thankfulness to God. That's what I think this parable is about. So make many sacrifices, make many sacrifices, but don't make much of your sacrifice. Be like David Livingstone, say it's a privilege to serve. It's not even worth talking about my sacrifice. Say like Jesus said the servant said in another parable, “We're only unworthy servants, we've only done our duty.” There's nothing I have done here on Earth that really deserves any reward whatsoever. Prepare your heart for the surprise of Judgment Day. God's thoughts are not our thoughts, but he has told you enough. The one who serves will be considered great in the kingdom of Heaven, and the one who is slave of everyone will be considered greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
And so, therefore, I would urge that you present your body every day, as a living sacrifice to God, that you be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you test and approve what God's will is for you, and you get up and energetically, sacrificially do the good works He's laid out in advance for you to walk in. Do them all. Do them cheerfully, do them humbly. Consider other's works better than yours. Consider other people's sacrifices as far greater than yours. But at the same time, ask the Lord for greater responsibilities. “He who is faithful in little will be faithful in much.” And if he sees you be faithful, cheerfully faithful with the things He's handed to you, he may give you an opportunity to make, listen to this, even greater sacrifices for Jesus. And when that comes, you'll be able to humbly to say, “My sacrifices don't deserve anything. I'm just privileged to serve.”
George Whitefield, who crossed the Atlantic Ocean thirteen times in a sailing vessel to preach the gospel, noticed that people were making much of his name and his reputation. He said, “May the name of George Whitefield perish. And may the name of Jesus Christ live forever in glory.” And he said, “I want this on my tombstone, ‘Here lies George Whitefield, what kind of man he was the day will discover.’” At that time my heart motive will be revealed. That's when I'll get my reward, and not before. Close with me in prayer.