Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘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.”
Little needs to be said with regard to this particular parable about the Landowner. Simply put, God does not pick and choose those who seem most worthy. As one who came to the vineyard at 5pm, I must say that I am very much relieved that God does not always choose the best and the most loyal harvester. I’m grateful that he gives us time to find Him even though most of us waste so much time getting to the vineyard. Like so many of you, I came to the field of the Lord later in life and I believe that the only real losers here are those people whom we refer to as being “holier than thou”. The diligent self righteous person will be disappointed to discover that latecomers, those who dilly dally and put God off, can still find a place in that great vineyard we call heaven.
God’s grace knows no boundaries. Whether you came to the vineyard early on or later, just be glad you found your way. Don’t grumble…Be grateful for the opportunity to be a harvester in His vineyard and never get in the way or judge anyone unworthy to labor for the Lord.