Jesus told a story about work-men in a garden
Jesus said to his followers, “This picture story is about the people that will be in God’s family. There was a man that owned a garden, and he wanted some work-men to get a job finished in one day. So he went out early in the morning, to the place in the town where men waited around looking for a job. He talked to the men there, and they agreed to work for him. He agreed to give them the right pay, the pay that men always get for a day’s work. Then he sent them to work in his garden.
At 9 o’clock in the morning he went again to that place in the town, and he saw some other men standing around doing nothing. So he gave each of them a job too. He told them, ‘Come and work in my garden today, and I will pay you the right money at the end of the day.’ So they went to work in his garden.
Then, in the middle of the day, the boss went to that place in the town again. And he found some more men there, and he did the same for them. He gave them jobs. At 3 o’clock in the afternoon, he did the same thing. He found some more men and gave them jobs too.
Then, at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, he went into town again, and he saw some more men standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’
They said, ‘Because nobody gave us a job.’
The boss said to them, ‘All right, I’ll give each of you a job. Go and work in my garden.’
At the end of the day, he told his manager, ‘Tell all the work-men to come here, and we will pay them their money. Tell the last work-men to come first.’* So he paid the men that started their job at 5 o’clock, and he gave each of them a full day’s pay. Then he kept on paying the other men, and he gave each man a full day’s pay. 10 Last of all, he paid the men that started their job early in the morning. They thought they were going to get more money, but they didn’t. Each of them got a full day’s pay, just like the other men. 11 When they got their money, they complained to the boss. They said, 12 Those men only worked for one hour, and you paid them just as much money as you paid us. That’s not fair. We worked all day in the hot sun.’
13 The boss said to one of them, ‘My friend, I’m not cheating you. You agreed to work all day for one day’s pay, right? 14 Well, take your money and go home. You see, I wanted to pay these last work-men the same as you. 15 It’s all right for me to do what I want with my own money, right? If I’m good to somebody, don’t get upset with me.’ ”
16 Then Jesus told them what that story means. He said, “One day, those people that are the last ones now, they will be the first ones. And those people that are the first ones now, they will be the last ones.”*
(We have not yet translated 20:17—21:27. You can read that story and those messages in Mark 10:3211:33.)
* 20:8 Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:15 * 20:16 Matthew 19:30; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30