When the call came to go back to work, John got right up. Rested and refreshed, he was eager to work, and his body felt strong again. As he was heading out into the fields, he thought he heard someone calling his name. He turned and looked, and in the distance he saw still more people coming from the town to work in the vineyard. And there near the front, calling and waving with his one good hand, was Philip. John smiled, and waved, and wiped gently at his eyes as he headed back to work.
For the rest of the day, John worked in one of the outer fields, and as he brought in his last load, he was again filled with amazement. He saw young children and old people working in the vineyard. He saw Philip harvesting with his one good hand, and even the poor beggar from town who couldn't walk had been given a job dipping water from the well for those who were thirsty. It was almost too much to believe. It looked like every man, woman and child in town had been given work to do.
John stood by, staring and lost in wonder at the scene until he realized that the steward had been ringing a bell to call the workers in to receive their pay. Now he was already lining them up, according to how long they had worked, with the ones hired last at the front of the line. John hurried over, but he ended up being the last one in line anyway. Everyone was pretty quiet after the day's work, but once the owner started handing out the pay, a commotion got started at the front of the line. The word spread like lightning. The owner was paying these people a full day's wages! And some of them had only worked for one hour. Now everyone was excited, and the people in front of John in line started to say; "Imagine how much we'll get if he's paying those others a full day's wages!" But as the line advanced, they found out that the owner was paying everyone a full day's wages, regardless of how long they had worked.
Now the workers near the end of the line, who had been in the vineyard all day, started scowling. Their mood grew dark, and they muttered, and some even cursed the owner under their breath. John could hear them in front of him and it bothered him. Something didn't seem right about them talking that way. After all, the owner wasn't cheating them! Why couldn't they be happy for the other people from the town?
One of them was saying he couldn't believe the owner wasn't going to pay them more than those other people. John replied cautiously; "But, didn't you agree to work for a regular day's pay?"
The man snapped back; "Oh! And I suppose you think it's funny that he's made fools of us all, working so hard when they get off so easy!"
John didn't say anything more after that.