1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
Thoughts; God is like the landowner; we are like the workers; the world is like the vineyard; the wages are our eternal reward. Jesus' point in this parable is to tear down human pride, and help people to see that God is just in choosing and rewarding as He pleases. In America, this parable is particularly tough on us. For we are taught that you earn by the hour, or by experience, or by degree, and not by the desires of the one who hires us. Yet, even in America we see exceptions to this. I remember working for Dunlop Sports Co. and our product and sales were tanking to the brink. The company hired a young expert from a rival company paid him twice what the same position paid before. Most in the plant murmured and complained, and criticized this person. But in the end, this guy brought creative ideas that saved the company for many years- and all our jobs in the process. Our human pride makes us think that we are worthy of being in God's kingdom simply because we exist (no matter how unperfect we are- we think we deserve the perfection of heaven). Some think they deserve heaven because of their heritage- growing up in a Christian home- even if they do not follow Christ as Lord. Some think that they deserve being in the kingdom more than others because they have served Christ longer. This parable challenges our assumptions, and lets us know we are all standing in need of being chosen. The choosing, by the way, is not just to have the reward/wages but to do the work. We are not Christians simply in order to be saved, but we are chosen to go out and glorify God with our lives.
Prayer: Today, Lord, take away my pride. Help me to see the wonders of your grace.
John Calvin abridged: This parable is a confirmation of the preceding sentence (Mt. 19:30) that the last will be first. It is not talking about the equality of our eternal glory, or the future condition of the godly. He only argues that those who were first in time do not have the right to insult or degrade those who were chosen later. The Lord has the right to choose any he had disregarded for a time and to make them equal or even superior to others. We may infer from this that every person is created for a purpose and has their province assigned to them by God to do His work. We may also infer that our life is unprofitable until we answer God's call.