Jesus does not disagree. In fact, he seems to bait us in this parable: “You think I’ve been unfair with you?” I won’t deny it, He says, and I’ll even chastise you for pointing it out. “Friend, take what is yours and go,” the Landowner says to the complaining worker. “What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?” Go, and do not question me.
God doesn't owe us anything, but He gives us everything anyway
I’d like to point out two things about this Scripture.
The first point is that God is God, and really, we have no right to question him. Does a gnat question the man who brushes him off? We are really nothing before God, and can stand on no authority of our own to challenge his judgments. We delude ourselves if we think we can demand anything of God. God is God, and we are not God.
There is a second point, however, and it is even more important than the first. God loves us. He loves us poor, trembling, insecure, complaining and whining gnats. I might think he is unfair with me, and that he loves that guy more than me, and that he has forgotten me. But this parable actually says quite the opposite. Everyone gets equal pay. Jesus is telling us that he gives each of us the same amount of his providence. He goes out five times during the day—at daybreak, at nine, at noon, at three, and at five o’clock—looking for unemployed people. He wanted to give honest work, and honest pay, to men that were without work or pay. Is it the fault of those hired at 5 o’clock that they did not get hired sooner? “No one has hired us,” they say. No one valued their work enough to hire them until the Landowner finds them. The worst experience is to be unwanted, and not valued, by others. Personally, I would much rather be the man hired at daybreak, working for someone who appreciates me, than that lonely guy kicking stones all day, hoping someone would hire him.
In the end, all get the same daily age. And in Scripture, that wage is eternal life. All the workers make it to heaven, because all responded to the Landowner. All came to the land of everlasting rest, owned by God, which we call heaven.
Getting to Heaven
The next time you feel that life is unfair, remind yourself that God gives each of us all that we need to be eternally happy. The next time your stomach gets sour over the fact that you’ve tried to honor God all your life but don’t feel the rewards—the next time you feel cheated—ask yourself: would I want anyone to be shut out of heaven forever? I think all of us would say that what we really want is bad men to become good men, and for everyone to go to heaven. This life is so brief, nothing really compares to the life of the world to come. So what if I have a little more grief than the next guy? The main thing is for us all to get safely to heaven.
Let us count on the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary to keep us steady in our resolve to work in just the way God wants us to, and to work for the salvation of all souls, that we may all be in heaven one day with her, and the Blessed Trinity, and all the angels and saints forever.