The parable of the Vineyard, Matt 20: 1-16 is often difficult for us to hear. We may sympathize with those who have worked all day. We too might think of it as unfair, that those who came in the last hour received the same pay as we did. But there are other truths lying hidden here.
Labor and money should not be equated. This is an “apples and oranges” equation. We have all been gifted differently, have been given varying levels of education, will, creativity and support. There is inequality in this fact but it should not be reflected in monetary reward, especially because the gifts we have been given have not come from us.
Every human being is worth the same in the Kingdom of God. We have each been given a higher self, which carries us from lifetime to lifetime, through which we have the possibility of becoming “children of God.” We have been created in the image and likeness of God.
It is important that we hold on to the belief in the original goodness at the core of every human being. We are each in our own way, working our way through materialism and the denial of the Spirit, back to God out of our own free will. This takes a lot of time and each person is in a different place on this path.
The other concern about each person getting the same amount of money, is that some people are “just lazy.” Well, all people are lazy. There is no one who can honestly say that he or she is not lazy somewhere in life: in child discipline, in thinking, in open-mindedness, in daily practice, in their own health care or hundreds of other ways in which we do not do our very best. What is clear, is that the Master does not want anyone to be idle! So, no matter how late in the day it is, it is still important to do something!
We can find a way to do our best without overdoing it. We can strive to do as much as possible, and then rest. This brings us closer to the Kingdom of God. Useful, harmonious work leaves us content and fulfilled at the end of the day. This is the description of the Kingdom. We do not have to wait until we die, nor should we! We are invited to begin the transformation of earthly life into the Kingdom of God every single day; right now. We are to “carry what is hidden as a gift to others.”