Parable of the Workers In the Vineyard: Verse, Meaning & Lesson

The Parable of the Workers In the Vineyard is in Matthew 20:1–16. Jesus told this parable to convey that God’s grace and salvation are available to all, regardless of when one comes to faith or how long one has served.

This guide gives you a complete summary of the Parable of the Workers In the Vineyard, including the verses in Scripture, the meaning, and lessons that can be applied to the Christian life.

Note: This parable is also referred to as the Parable of the Laborers In the Vineyard and the Parable of the Generous Employer.

Parable of the Workers In the Vineyard In Scripture

Matthew 20:1–16 – Parable of the Workers In the Vineyard

 “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who was the master of a household, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard.  When he had agreed with the labourers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.  He went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace.  He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went their way.  Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.  About the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle. He said to them, ‘Why do you stand here all day idle?’

 “They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’

“He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and you will receive whatever is right.’

 “When evening had come, the lord of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the labourers and pay them their wages, beginning from the last to the first.’  “When those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came, they each received a denarius. 10  When the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise each received a denarius. 11  When they received it, they murmured against the master of the household, 12  saying, ‘These last have spent one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat!’

13  “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Didn’t you agree with me for a denarius? 14  Take that which is yours, and go your way. It is my desire to give to this last just as much as to you. 15  Isn’t it lawful for me to do what I want to with what I own? Or is your eye evil, because I am good?’ 16  So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Read Matthew 20

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Parable of the Workers In the Vineyard Meaning

This parable means that God’s grace and salvation are available to all, regardless of when one comes to faith or how long one has served the Lord. It teaches that the last will be first, and the first last, illustrating that human notions of fairness are different from divine grace, which is generous and not earned by our works.

Jesus told this metaphor to convey God’s grace and the Kingdom of Heaven. He also used the parable to address the issues of envy and resentment, encouraging believers to rejoice in the blessings others receive and to understand that God’s rewards are not based on our timing or expectations.

The message underscores the unexpected and generous nature of God’s grace, challenging Christians to live in a way that reflects the values of the Kingdom of Heaven: equality, humility, and joy in the blessings of others.

Parable of the Workers In the Vineyard Lessons

God’s Grace Is Unearned

The main lesson is that God’s grace is a gift, not a wage earned by our efforts or length of service as a believer.

Equality Before God

The parable reminds us that all believers are equal in God’s eyes, regardless of when they came to faith or how much they have done for the Kingdom.

The Last Shall Be First

This lesson encourages humility and service, as those who are last in this world may be first in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Avoid Comparison and Envy

Christians are being taught to focus on their own journey with God and not to compare it with others, avoiding feelings of envy or entitlement.

Rejoice In Others’ Blessings

Another important lesson is the encouragement of believers to rejoice when others are blessed, even if it seems disproportionate to their efforts, recognizing that God’s ways are not our ways. God’s blessings are distributed according to His and we should trust that His plans for each Christian are perfect.


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Read More Parables In the Bible

The Parable of the Workers In the Vineyard is just one of many parables in the Bible. Use the links below to explore more of Jesus’ parables, their meanings, and life lessons.

Summary of the Parable of the Workers In the Vineyard

We hope you enjoyed this summary of the Parable of the Workers In the Vineyard.

As you discovered, the Parable of the Workers In the Vineyard appears in Matthew 20:1–16. And the primary meaning of the parable is that God’s grace and salvation are available to all believers, regardless of when one comes to faith or how long one has served the Lord. The life lessons include God’s grace is unearned, there is equality for all Christians before God, the last shall be first, avoid comparison and envy, and rejoice in others’ blessings.

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