And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’
But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.
Jesus continues his conversation with the disciples about wealth by telling them a story about vineyard workers who received the same daily pay even though they worked different hours. I think that many of us can relate to this seemingly unfair action by the owner of the vineyard. Anyone who has lived for a while can relate to the feelings of unfairness when another gets a raise or a promotion. Many of us would react in similar ways if we had worked all day and received the same wage as those who worked for one hour.
It is interesting how the master responds to their disappointment with the word generosity. When it comes to eternal matters and everlasting fairness it is good to pause for a moment and understand that it is all about the generosity of God. Whether we have followed Him all of our lives, or only in our very last days, it is all about His generosity. If we are gifted or blessed in any way it is because God is generous. How much more should we live in ways that reflect His generosity in our lives?
There is no philanthropist like you Lord! Help me to live and give in generous ways.