For the kingdom of heaven is like to a man that is an householder…
Christ nowhere offers us heaven as a price for good behaviour, as foolish parents, or rather wicked parents, lure their children to obey with sweetmeats and toys. It is in no such sense as this that He engages to be a Rewarder of them that seek Him. The very passage just quoted discredits such a thought; for it says, "If ye love them that love you, what reward have ye?" There must be spontaneous service. The heart must go into it, uncalculating and ungrudging. You must love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, and bless them that curse you, and lend, hoping for nothing again. Then you will be the children of the Highest; and, precisely because you expected no reward at all, verily your reward shall be great. There is a striking legend of saintly old Bishop Ivo, who walked with God, and saw through the self-seeking religionists of his time, and longed for larger faith. He describes himself as meeting one day, a figure in the form of a woman, of a sad, earnest aspect, like some prophetess of God, who carried a vessel of fire in one hand, and of water in the other. He asked her what these things were for. She answered, the tire is to burn up Paradise, the water is to quench Hell — that men may henceforth serve their Maker, not from the selfish hope of the one, nor from the selfish fear of the other, but for love of Himself alone. God does not consume paradise, nor quench hell. He keeps the fountains of sweet and living waters leaping and flowing in the one; He keeps the awful fires of the other burning. But surely all this promise and penalty do not mean that we are to stop in their discipline, and calculate the price of our obedience. Oh, no! not while the glorious voice of the apostle rings out over the centuries: "The love of Christ constraineth me; I count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Him." Not while the Saviour says to the aspiring heart of the world, "Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect;" hoping for nothing again.
Parallel VersesKJV: For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.