Again, the Lord launches into a parable concerning the nature of the kingdom of God.  In this parable, He shows the prerogative of the Lord of the kingdom to distribute His gifts as He sees fit.  He hires laborers early in the day, then some later in the day, and then some at the “eleventh hour,” or just an hour before sundown.  At the end of a long day of labor, the householder gave each man a penny.  Those who came first complained that they received the same wages as those who had labored but an hour.  But for this gripe they were sternly rebuked by the householder, who informed them that it was His prerogative to pay what He willed.  They had agreed to work for a penny, and thus they received a penny.  If he wished to pay those who worked but an hour the same amount, then it was no skin off their nose.  “Is thine eye evil because I am good?”

The conclusion to the Lord’s parable is the same which ended the previous chapter: “The last shall be first, and the first last.”  Here, He also adds, “For many be called, but few chosen.”  This is a sobering reality.  Many fancy themselves called to labor in Christ’s kingdom, but they were never chosen of Him, and do not care to submit to His lordship.  The true laborer will cheerfully work in the Master’s vineyard, and rejoice to humbly receive whatever wages the Lord cares to give at the end.