Matthew 20:1-16 NKJV
1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
2 Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
4 and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went.
5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.
6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’
7 They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’
8 “So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’
9 And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius.
10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius.
11 And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner,
12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’
13 But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?
14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’
16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”
Let us begin by understanding the timing very well. The term "hour" referred to a period of time, one-twelfth of the daylight part of the day. As a general rule the first hour was equivalent to 6 to 7 am on a modern-day clock, and so on.
The land owner agreed a denarius per day with the labourers that he met at the early hours of the day, lets say between 6 to 7 am. About 9 am (third hour) he employed some more, at 12 noon, he employed other set of laborers to work on the vineyard. At 3pm and about 5pm he also invite other sets of labourers to work on his vine yard. Please note the owner of the vineyard only bargained a definite price with the first set of labourers.
What happened at the end of the day (6pm)? The land owner paid all the labourers equal amount of money (one denarius each).
Humanly thinking, we may think the owner of the vineyard is unfair especially if we are among the first set of labourers hired that day. But in the real sense, he bargained with us before our employment (one denarius per day) therefore whatever he chooses to pay other sets of labourers is none of our business (we will get what he has promised)
The goodnews is; this parable is about the Kingdom of Heaven. As long as you are on the Lord's side (that is you have chosen Jesus as the son of the Living God and the Savior of your Soul) there is a promise of eternal Life. Other set of sinners will be converted several years after your conversion and the promise of Eternal life is also for them.
The Lesson here is; thinking the owner of the vineyard is unfair is like; thinking no other sinners should have the same access to eternal life as you, Now i will say that is unfair because you are not the very first person to be promised eternal life you are only fortunate to share eternal life with those whose the promise of eternal life has been made long before you were born.
Our God is a kind and a loving Father who will go all out to bring more souls to the vineyard even when our days are coming to an end so everyone will have a joyous end.
Be happy that you have the opportunity to be called into the vineyard of God, do not say in your heart that i will wait to join the vine at the later part of the day (time and chance may not make it happen) tomorrow may be too late.
Always be thankful for the Salvation that you have right now for many are called but few are chosen.
God bless you as you ponder on this.