Most of us have a plan for our lives. We go to school, plan our future and begin work to accomplish our goals. We put in a full-days’ work to get a full days’ pay. Our reward is earned. It’s the things we did to accomplish the lifestyle that we want. And that’s the way it goes in this world of ours.
Now this owner of the vineyard is genuinely nice. You could say that he’s gracious, exceedingly so. He goes back throughout the day and hires more workers. Even an hour before quitting time, he hires the ones that are standing around dejected because they didn’t find work that day and will go home empty handed. He sends them out to work even though it’s just for a short time.
He didn’t tell these last workers what their pay would be. Just that it would be whatever was right (verse 4,7). When the end of the day came, everyone got paid the same amount. Some were happy and others weren’t. Why? Because those that worked all day thought they should get more than the others who came to work later in the day.
It’s like comparing apples to oranges. This is a story comparing the world and its’ expectations to the grace of God. God says to Moses in Romans 9:15, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” As people of faith we know that we don’t deserve God’s grace. But do we really know just how gracious God is? This parable points that out.
Sometimes we think that there are those out in the world that don’t deserve God’s grace. It’s like the people that were hired to work an hour before quitting time. They got the same reward as the others, eternity. God saved them in the eleventh hour. It’s truly miraculous. God’s mercy and God’s grace are difficult to fathom. But this little parable helps us to understand it.