The Vineyard Laborers

“God's kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work. Later, about nine o'clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went. At five o'clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, ‘Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?’ They said, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He told them to go to work in his vineyard.

When the day's work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.’ Those hired at five o'clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’ He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven't been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn't we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can't I do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”

(Matthew 20:1-16)

For thousand of years human beings where warned to modify, to comply with the Will of the Lord to become useful servants in His vineyard, the Creation. Many are called… Called are the ones that bear specific capacity. Chosen are the ones who effectively transform their capacities into action.

There is a time limit available for humans to develop (the five o'clock), where it will be possible for the human being to disentangle himself from his errors, overcome his inner laziness and undertake the path for spiritual ascent. However, ascent requires a conscious collaboration in perfecting the Creation, i.e. serving. Whoever ascends spiritually cooperates automatically in perfecting the craftwork because everything that emanates from him is harmonious and constructive. His intuitions and thoughts can only generate new and beneficial configurations.

Note that the owner of the vineyard was severe to the workers who were found at five o'clock: he asked “why are you standing here idle all day?” This “day” represents all previous existence of a human being covering several millennia, enough to include many terrestrial lives. The general sense is: “why did you not take any advantage of the time at your disposal until now, in your existence, to become useful in Creation?” The answer given was: “because no one has hired us” shows human beings seldom have enthusiasm to undertake voluntarily their spiritual ascent. This demands personal effort but the majority prefers to lay back comfortably on blind faith which demands no movement. Only when one is struck by external push (the call for hire) in the form of a significant experience, as pain or joy, can an awakening happen and a longing for spiritual ascent arise (to work at the vineyard).

Another teaching included in this parable is about the time needed for the spirit to develop which is different one from another. This must not give rise to any misunderstanding or envy as stated by the workers who labored for longer time. Otherwise they will harm themselves because “for where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.” (James 3:16).

It is not relevant if some started to develop later and reached the same spiritual level of the ones who did not delay. Human beings are not equals; each one has his specific evolutionary degree, depending on how he applied the faculties granted him: this is the “talent” of the other parable. Some ascend more swiftly, others slowly. What makes the difference is the start of the ascent and the perseverance in this course (Law of Movement), to finally obtain the prize of eternal life (check 1Corinth 3:8), which has the same value – one dollar – for any who have deserved it.

The landlord was generous with the last workers, but was not unfair to the first ones who were paid as promised and at the proper time. Nobody has the right to complain and consider unfair the longer time spent to ascend spiritually compared with his fellow man because this depends on each one's personal rhythm, the way each one himself makes his effort to live in accordance with the laws of creation. This is a grudge complaint which the landlord reproaches severely: “are evil in your eyes because I am good?” Some take this parable as a proof that access to Paradise happens as a privilege not by merit. But the truth is just the contrary! As in other parables Jesus exhorts here human beings to move continually, to act as his Word advises, because only by one's own effort would one someday find the entrance to Paradise.

It was not without a reason that the Master spoke several times about this personal effort as necessary condition to enter God's reign: “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is strongly urged to enter it” (Luke16:16). The one who complies with the teachings coming from the Word of Salvation ascends securely, step by step, to the heavenly kingdom. Nevertheless here on earth, such a person may be despised by his fellow man because he rejects the dogma that could only be forged by the twisted rationalization of the religious leaders. On the other hand all modern Pharisees consider themselves as saved. They account themselves dearest viewed from above because they complied diligently the rules of their religions, created by other humans like them. They will never enter the Kingdom of God. They will be left behind and those ones with free will, those ones that today are the last ones, will become the first and with this finally, “Exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high” (Ez 21:26).

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