Labourers in the Vineyard

Labourers in the Vineyard

Of those who have left all. Labourers in the Vineyard.

(The Gospel History, Section 120)

Then answered Peter and began to say unto him. Lo, we have left all, and followed thee: what then shall we have? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And there is no man that hath left house, or wife, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or children, or lands, for my sake and for the gospel’s sake, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions: and in the world to come eternal life. But many shall
 be last that are first, and first that are last. For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a house-holder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing in the marketplace idle; and to them he said, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing; and he saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard. And when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and pay 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. And when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they received it, they murmured against the householder, saying, These last have spent but one hour, and thou hast
 made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden
 of the day and the scorching heat. But he answered and said to one of them, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take up that which is thine, and go thy way; it is my will to give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? or is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last.


(The Saviour of the World, Vol VII Book I Poem XX)

“Twelve thrones, my friends, for you are set,

About My place on high;

In that day when the tribes are met
E’en ye, by wisdom ye shall get,
Should judge as kings, release from debt

And men’s fit meal supply.”

A little counts for much with Him we serve,
And yet, ungenerous, grasping, we reserve
Our claim for recompense adequate, and more
Then he receives who brings a lesser store!

The patience of our Teacher! Sure, our hearts
Meet to perceive how, careful, He imparts
As slow dropped elixir, that word shall reach
The tardy soul of him He deigns to teach!

The other side of the shield He straight displays
To the disciples’ much affronted gaze:
“One brings a little, others much shall serve
Yet the same recompense doth each deserve!”

For not by niggard rule of less or more
Your Father metes to man His generous store;
Freely He gives, nor reckons your poor due
Sure glad and grateful thanks shall rise from you!

He found you idle in the market-place,
Early or late, what mattered to His grace?
He bade you to His vineyard, gave employ,
And named the wages each one should enjoy;

A day’s wage gets the man an hour had wrought,
The others calculate in eager thought
At that rate, how much then shall he receive
Had worked all day with his lord’s gracious leave.

But as each held his palm, therein was laid
That penny he had bargained to be paid.
Unjust! they cry; how can he treat us so
Who’ve worked all day beneath the sun’s hot glow!

St. Matthew xix. 27 – xx. 16;
St. Mark x. 28-31;
St. Luke xviii. 28-30