Good News A43

The Last Will Be First

Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Matthew 20:1-16 New American Bible

Matthew 20:1-16 Bible Gateway New International Version


'These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day's burden and the heat.'


One day your father asked you, “Son, do you want to earn $25.00 raking leaves in our back yard from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. today?” You answered, “Sure, Dad. I could really use the money for my camping trip with the Boy Scouts. So at 6:00 a.m. you started raking leaves and putting them in plastic bags for recycling.

After you had been out there sweating and raking for three hours, your father sent your younger brother to join you. He said, “Dad is going to pay me $25.00 to rake until 6:00 p.m.”  

By noon you had blisters on your hands. Then your girl cousin comes and starts raking. She said, “Your father is going to give me $25.00 if I rake leaves until 6:00 p.m.”

At 3:00 p.m. you had been raking for 9 full hours. You were thirsty, when the girl from across the street comes and started raking. She said, “Your father is going to give me $25.00 if I rake leaves until 6:00 p.m.”

At 5:00 p.m. you were hungry, when a young stranger from the homeless shelter began to rake and said, “Your father is going to give me $25.00 if I rake leaves until 6:00 p.m.”

At 6:00 p.m. all 5 of you put your rakes away, put the bags out at the curb for trash pick-up, and then went to your father to get paid. He said:  “Line up in order from the last one hired to the first one hired.” 

After you were lined up, your father said:  “Stranger, you started at 5:00 p.m. Here is $25.00 for 1 hour of work.”

“Neighbor, you started at 3:00 p.m. Here is $25.00 for 3 hours of work with sweat.”

“Niece, you started at 12:00 noon. Here is $25.00 for 6 hours of work with sweat and blisters.”

“Younger son, you started at 9:00 a.m. Here is $25.00 for 9 hours of work with sweat, blisters, and hunger.”

“Older son, you started at 6:00 a.m. this morning. Here is $25.00 for 12 hours of work with sweat, blisters, hunger and thirst.”

Of course, all of you except for the stranger would felt like you weren’t treated fairly. But your father said, “I asked each of you if you would do the work for $25.00 and you said, ‘Yes.’ It is my money and I choose to be generous with it.

 Now in this story, your father is God, the Father. The work you had chosen to do was to obey His commandments. The money was His gift of grace to get into heaven, which God gives generously and equally to all. God, the Father loves each of you so much that He gives you eternal life because you are a child of God and because you are being obedient to him. He does not tell you that you have not been working for Him long enough to get into heaven. In His love and mercy, at the hour of your death, no matter how long you have been a child of God obeying His commandments (60 years, 16 years, 6 years, 6 hours, 6 minutes, or 6 seconds), God, your Father rewards you by having you go to live with him forever in Heaven. Oh, glorious day! God is so good and generous to His children!                                                                               

Pray the “Our Father” and ask God to help you receive fair wages for your work.                                                                                                                                      


“Our Father, who art in Heaven,

Hallowed be Thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day, our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”



Copyright ©2002, 2004 Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.