So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last. – Matthew 20:16
Jesus gave us the parable of the vineyard workers and the owner. In the story he explains how a farmer hires men to work his vineyard in the morning, some later in the day, and some right before quitting time. The farmer pays each of the workers the same wage for their day’s labor, but the one hired on first complain that they should receive more than those hired later in the day. The owner tells them that they agreed to work for a day’s wage, and he is able to pay whomever he wants whatever rate he desires. The first are last, and the last are first.
I used to never quite fully understand the parable until today. The Spirit of God showed me that when it comes to salvation, it doesn’t matter when one is saved, so long as the person accepts the gift of salvation. The workers hired on early felt like they deserved more pay than the johnny-come-latelys, but in God’s perspective no one is greater than the other. Yes, Jesus told us many times he will reward us for the job we’ve done here on earth, but the truth is the greatest reward we receive is eternal life with God through Jesus! Therefore, we should work to complete the task God gives us in life, and we should not allow ourselves to get got up in competition for compensation in the hereafter. Some have been converts for decades and done many works while others may come to Jesus on their death bed and done nothing. Does it seem unfair that one would eternal life without works while the others worked hard and long for the kingdom here on earth? Yes! Why? Because Jesus gave his life and was resurrected for all who would and will believe in him would not perish but have everlasting life.
Father, thank you for showing me the true meaning of this parable today. I didn’t quite get it and used to think that it revolved around the idea of people thinking that they should be top priority would be humbled and the humbled would be lifted up by you. There is a hint of that here, but I see the truth is that all who enter the kingdom of heaven are the same in your eyes and receive the same reward of eternal life through Jesus. Yes, you will reward us according to our works, but those works don’t determine our eternal destiny with you. Thank you again for the illumination. In Jesus’ name, Amen.