I've been contemplating this passage for the last month and a half or so.
"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
"About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' So they went.
"He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'
" 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered.
"He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'
"When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.'
"The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'
"But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'
"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."
I talked to another person among the body of Christ a day ago about this passage. The Individual was talking about grace as related to the passage. Some of the workers were called later than others to "work in the vineyard." All of those who were called RECEIVED GRACE-----AND THE SAME "PAY" regardless of how long they had worked.
How often do we identify ourselves with those that "were called at the beginning of the day??" We "Serve" longer and "expect more" but the gift of God is grace is the same--regardless of at what point the worker was called to labor in the vineyard.
Grace--Do we like it???
Our first response is probably "yes, of course!" After all, we are grateful for the grace that God has demonstrated to us.....
But are we grateful for those who are called later and serve a "shorter time" because of that?? Do we truly want to see God's grace demonstrated in the lives of others?
THE GIFT IS THE SAME TO EACH ONE THAT PLACES THEIR TRUST IN CHRIST--AND WE MUST REMEMBER THAT NONE OF US DESERVED THAT GIFT AT ALL--and respond in humility and gratitude--not expecting "more" than others.