For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. Matthew 20:1, 2. (Read Matthew 20:1-16.)
Christ taught by means of figures and symbols. On one occasion He spoke a parable in regard to the hiring of laborers to illustrate the way in which God deals with those who devote themselves to His service….
It was the custom in Judea for men to wait at the marketplaces for someone to come and employ them; and in Europe this custom is still in vogue. Those who need help go to the marketplace to find servants that they may employ. The man in the parable is represented as going out at different hours to engage workmen. Those he hired at the earliest hour agreed to work for him for a stated sum of money, while those who were hired later left the wages they were to receive wholly to the discretion of the householder.
“So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.” …
The lesson of the laborers had a bearing upon the question about which the disciples had disputed by the way—who should be greatest in the kingdom of heaven. The world’s Redeemer saw the danger that would imperil His church, and sought to arouse His people to an understanding of their position; for this parable was but a continuation of the lesson taught when Peter asked, “Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?” …
With implicit trust we are to stay upon God, and let the heart rest in Him without a question as to what is to be our measure of reward….
Jesus would have those who are engaged in His service not [be] eager for rewards nor feel that they must receive compensation for all that they do…. The Lord measures the spirit, and rewards accordingly, and the pure, humble, childlike spirit of love makes the offering precious in His sight.—The Review and Herald, July 3, 1894.