Since humility is one of the clearest attributes seen in our Lord (Philippians 2:5-8) it makes sense that it is a priority for Him to train His disciples in humility. This is seen throughout the Bible and in Matthew 20:1-16, the parable of the vineyard workers brings several specific marks of humility to the forefront.
In this parable, the vineyard owner hires laborers to work in his vineyard. Some are hired early and work a full day but others are hired at later points throughout the day only working a partial day. Literally some of them only work an hour. Yet they are all paid the same amount of money. How can this be fair? The outrage of the early workers and the rebuke of the owner teach us some marks of humility.
First mark of humility – knowing Jesus is LORD and I am not. The owner quiets the objections of the early workers by pointing out it is his money and he can do with it anything he wishes paying workers whatever he wants. Humility leads me to accept whatever path for life or for the day God’s providence brings to me. Why? It’s simple. Because He’s God and I’m not.
Second mark of humility – life isn’t about God being fair but Him showing me grace. The owner further quiets any complaints by pointing out that no unfairness had been shown the early workers favoring the later. Everyone was paid exactly the amount agreed upon when they were hired. Humility leads me to look past apparent unfairness in this world to see that God has lavishly poured out His grace giving me Himself and eternal life.
Third mark of humility – I’m not the only one who gets a place of importance in the kingdom. There are many more workers in the vineyard and God’s kingdom who got there the exact same way I got there. The owner came and found me and brought me here. Humility leads me to rejoice that I am in this kingdom of joy with many others and we owe it all to the kindness of Jesus.
Humility radically reshapes the way I see myself and God so that I truly desire to love others in a way that pleases Him.