Workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) | back
1For 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. This is another illustration of what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.
2And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. The common pay at this time. ("A denarius," the payment for a day's labor; equivalent to $20 in modern times).
3And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace. This would be around 9:00 a.m. when he hired the other workers.
4And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. God is always fair.
5Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. This would be around 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. when he hired these two groups of workers.
6And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? Now it is around 5:00 p.m. when he hired the last group of workers. Remember these were the "last" workers he hired in relation to the first.
7They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. These men were standing idle; not that they did not want to work, but because no one ever hired them. For the deeper student in the spiritual sense, not one had ever "taught" them. (Remember that we are speaking of what the Kingdom of Heaven is like).
8So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. Again God is always fair. Our Heavenly Father is going to give a spiritual lesson here that they did not understand.
9And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. The last workers hired received $20.
10But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. The men hired earlier in the day also received only $20, but they thought they should receive more.
11And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house. They started to complain, but that is what they agreed upon.
12Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. They thought that because they worked a little longer, that they should get more pay.
13But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? This is what they agreed upon when they were hired.
14Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. It is my desire to pay all the workers the same. Again, God is always fair.
15Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? It is lawful to do what I wish with my own money and you should not be angry because I am kind. They still did not get the spiritual message.
16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. Speaking of those who overcame in the first earth age. They were first then but will be called last at the end of this world age because God can count on them to stand against anti-Christ at the proper time. Those in the first earth age may have earned more, but God gives those in this earth age a chance to catch-up!