Jesus concluded with these words as He finished telling the parable of the laborers which begins in verse 1 of this chapter. Jesus used this parable about a landowner to illustrate the kingdom of God. The time of the parable is a single workday, and at various times throughout the day the landowner goes to the marketplace to seek out workers for his vineyard and puts them to work. Some were hired first thing in the morning, while others were hired very near the end of working hours. When it came time to pay the workers, the landowner paid them, starting with the workers who came the latest and ending up with those who arrived first. The workers who worked the least were given a day’s wage, causing the workers who worked the most hours to expect a greater wage for the day, but they were paid a day’s wage as agreed upon when they hired on. They were quite upset and murmured against the landowner at their perceived inequity. The landowner answered one of them by saying, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a [day’s wage]?” (Matthew 20:13).
This parable presents a wonderful illustration of the heart of God. Some people give their lives to the Lord at an early age and serve the Lord for a lifetime, while others may not be brought into the kingdom until a very advanced age. God’s heart is for the lost, and He sent His Son Jesus so that by His grace anyone can be saved at any point in their lives thereby assuring their eternal destiny with God. God joyfully accepts anyone who at any point in their life turns to Him, each receiving the same adoption into His family and eternal life with Him. Perhaps you have witnessed to an older person who has said that it is too late for them to come to the Lord because of all the sin over the course of their life. That is not the heart of God; His calling is to all and the heavenly reward is the same for the latecomers as it is for those who come to Him at an early age.