The following is one of the most important stories Jesus told in the Bible. It explains our world. It explains God. It explains what Grace really is. And it explains Heaven. It is what differentiates the Christian faith from every other religion and philosophy in the world.
How many times have we wondered about the wretched person who repents at the very end of their life and gets right with God? They lived their life carelessly, causing harm to others along the way, while we tried to follow God’s teachings all our lives. Is that fair?
How many times do people condemn a God they don’t understand because they think that all God wants to do is send people to hell if they mess up?
How many times have we messed up?
And what about all the starving and abused children that God seemingly ignores? Where is their justice?
Jesus had a good way of explaining things. We should all read or think about this story from Jesus every day and apply its wisdom to every circumstance we encounter. Maybe then we will not be so surprised when we get to eternity.
~ Matthew 20:1-16 Parable of the Vineyard Workers ~
Jesus said, “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the workers on one denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine in the morning, he saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. To those men he said, ‘You also go to my vineyard, and I’ll give you whatever is right.’ So off they went. About noon and at three, he went out again and did the same thing. Then about five he went and found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day doing nothing?’
“‘Because no one hired us,’ they said to him.
“‘You also go to my vineyard,’ he told them. When evening came, the owner of the vineyard told his foreman, ‘Call the workers and give them their pay, starting with the last and ending with the first.’
“When those who were hired about five came, they each received one denarius. So when the first ones came, they assumed they would get more, but they also received a denarius each. When they received it, they began to complain to the landowner: ‘These last men put in one hour, and you made them equal to us who bore the burden of the day and the burning heat!’
“He replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I’m doing you no wrong. Didn’t you agree with me on a denarius. Take what’s yours and go. I want to give this last man the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my business? Are you jealous because I’m generous?’”
“So the last will be first, and the first last.”