By Kathleen Bordo Crombie



 “Whatever is right I will give you.”
~Matthew 20:4b


How many times have I heard this Gospel reading in my lifetime? And yet, I never caught the fact that the workers were promised to be paid the “usual daily wage” or “whatever is right.” Jesus tells us a parable about a landowner who hired several crews of workers from dawn to nearly dusk. The earliest workers agreed to the usual daily wage, and the others to “whatever is right.” Different! Very different! Obviously, all the workers were thankful to have a job, that is until the end of the day when the last hired were paid first and received the same pay as those who began at dawn.   


The earliest laborers received the usual daily wage – they were paid what was promised. The other workers received “whatever is right” – they were paid what the landowner promised. But no one suspected the landowner would choose “whatever is right” to equal the usual daily wage. Bottom line: they all received the same pay at the end of the day! The workers hired first “grumbled against the landowner.” They angrily pointed out his lack of fairness and how they deserved more than what they agreed to because they served him longer. It almost sounds like they have a case, doesn’t it? But then the landowner asks the bombshell question: “Are you envious because I am generous?”    

The Mother Lode!

We are the workers in God’s vineyard. We serve a lavish, over-the-top, generous God who loves His people. 

Who else would choose to send His only Son to die on the Cross for our sins? No one! Jesus was obedient to his Father and chose to suffer his Passion, Death, and Resurrection for every person ever created, even for those who would not believe in him. 

He chooses to continue his great generosity through the miracles he grants year after year. He instituted the Feast of Divine Mercy to pour his unfathomable mercy upon the whole world. Talk about a payday – my friends, this is the mother lode!

The Promise

As true and faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, we are promised eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. The promise is the same for the Christian who is a devoted disciple their entire life and the atheist who accepts Christ on their deathbed. We serve a generous and merciful God in which cheating and injustice do not exist. The payday is to be with God in Heaven, and that comes with our last earthly breath, whether we were early or late, to openly accepting God’s generous invitation to work in His vineyard.  



Lord, help us when we misunderstand your generosity for injustice. Sometimes, we just don’t get it, and the world around us tends to be a negative influence that spurs us on. Let us pray for wisdom and clarity to see your hand.

Call to Action

Are there people in your life who have misunderstood your generosity and intentions? Pray for them today!


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