How Can God Be Sovereign, and Yet I Exercise My Free Will?

Abdu draws us into the parable of the master of the vineyard to show us how Jesus not only transcends cultures, but how he transcends centuries.

You see those men waited for a second, third, fourth, and even a fifth round of hiring, holding out hope against all odds that maybe someone would honor them and give them an honest day’s worth of work. And the master of the vineyard does that. He honors them with that. Otherwise they would have gone home in shame and not been able to tell their wife and their children, “I provided for you today,” but he honors them with work.

Jesus is telling a parable that not only speaks to an honor and shame culture like an Eastern culture and says that people who hold out hope for honor will be rewarded by God, who is generous. But also those who have the philosophical conundrum that we have today, “how can God be sovereign and yet I exercise my free will?” he answers that question as well. Jesus not only transcends cultures but he transcends centuries

Make it personal:

  • How have you experienced Jesus covering your shame?

  • Do you believe that God is a generous and benevolent master of the vineyard?


On your second question, about if I believe God is a generous and benevolent master of the vineyard, I say yes. I’ve generally thought that this parable means people who get saved late in life have the same eternal reward as those who live many years for the Lord. I’d not considered Abdu’s point about honor. God knows when someone’s heart is to work for Him, to labor in the harvest. He sees us waiting to be picked. I’ve often thought I wish I was yielding more noticeable fruit in the sense of productivity. @Jennifer_Judson recently pointed out to me in a different topic that we have to yield our idea of fruit to God as His idea of fruit may be different than ours. I think God in His great love will, with wisdom and according to His plan, put some work in our hands that we may toil in the fields. Our work may be different than imagined and the work order may come late in the day, but it will be valuable in the eyes of the Master.