I have discussed today’s Gospel passage from Matthew 20:1-16 with several people and usually the jest of our discussion comes out as not being fair. So Jesus says that the “Kingdom of Heaven is like” before he tells the “Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard.” My goal as a Christian is eternal life in heaven with the hope of bringing as many people as I can with me. The provoking thought and question of today for me would be, if heaven is like this parable, will I be able to accept its terms?
A landowner goes out to hire laborers in his vineyard. He hires some at 9am, at noon, at 3pm and at 5pm. At the end of the day, he first pays the ones that started at 5pm and continues in reverse order. He paid every one of them the same wage. The ones who worked longer grumbled and thought they should get paid more. What do you think? Today’s society would tell you it is not fair and the ones working longer hours should get paid more. I guess it was not a union job!
Here is the landowner’s response to the grumblers … “My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous? Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
If heaven is like this, I am thankful that we, first of all, have a Heavenly Father that is so generous. I realize that this passage has some deeper and significant meaning to the Jewish leaders and people of this time, but it speaks to me about always doing my best and eliminating my pride. If someone gets credit for something I worked long and hard for, I must be humble and thankful for accomplishing the goal regardless of not being honored or recognized for my work. God knows and He permits it for His reason. If this is like heaven, I need to get used to it. God’s will be done, not mine.