The Parable of the Laborers In The Vineyard

“The first will be last and the last will be first

Matthew 19

Jesus gave the parable of the laborers in the vineyard to His disciples.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who owned a vineyard.

One morning the master of the vineyard went out to find workers to take care of the vineyard. He found a few men and hired them for a penny a day. They agreed the wage was fair, and went to work.

Three hours later, the master went to the market and found some men standing there.

‘Go and work in my vineyard,’ he offered them, ‘and I will pay a fair wage.’

They gratefully accepted the work and went to the vineyards.

The master did the same thing six hours into the day, and again at nine hours. Finally, at the eleventh hour, he found more men standing still in the market.

‘Why are you here, doing nothing all day?’ he asked them.

‘No one has given us any work to do,’ they answered, discouraged.

‘Go and work in my vineyard,’ said the master with compassion. ‘I will pay a fair wage.’

These last few were also grateful, with the hope of bringing some little money back to their families.

The work day finished at the twelfth hour.

‘Bring in the workers and pay them,’ said the master of the vineyard to his assistant. ‘Start with the most recent hires, last to first.’

Every worker was paid a penny. When those who were hired first that morning saw they were paid the same as everyone else, they were angry.

‘We worked all day, in the heat of the sun, and we are worth the same to you as those who worked only one hour?’ they cried in frustration.

The master of the vineyard remained calm before their accusations.

‘Friends, I haven’t wronged you in any way,’ said the master. ‘Didn’t you agree to work for a penny when I hired you? Take what is yours and go in peace. The law says I may pay my workers what I would like. The first will be last and the last will be first; many are called but few are chosen.’”

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