Elder Holland uses this as the background to talk about hurt feelings, feeling unjustly compensated, or feeling life is unfair at times.
- Brothers and sisters, there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those.
He shares some great advice about the things that we should be aware of and keep out of our lives.
- Coveting, pouting, or tearing others down does not elevate your standing, nor does demeaning someone else improve your self-image. So be kind, and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live.
He speaks about faith to move on from those things that have hurt us in the past.
- The formula of faith is to hold on, work on, see it through, and let the distress of earlier hours—real or imagined—fall away in the abundance of the final reward. Don’t dwell on old issues or grievances—not toward yourself nor your neighbor nor even, I might add, toward this true and living Church. The majesty of your life, of your neighbor’s life, and of the gospel of Jesus Christ will be made manifest at the last day, even if such majesty is not always recognized by everyone in the early going. So don’t hyperventilate about something that happened at 9:00 in the morning when the grace of God is trying to reward you at 6:00 in the evening—whatever your labor arrangements have been through the day.
- We consume such precious emotional and spiritual capital clinging tenaciously to the memory of a discordant note we struck in a childhood piano recital, or something a spouse said or did 20 years ago that we are determined to hold over his or her head for another 20, or an incident in Church history that proved no more or less than that mortals will always struggle to measure up to the immortal hopes placed before them. Even if one of those grievances did not originate with you, it can end with you. And what a reward there will be for that contribution when the Lord of the vineyard looks you in the eye and accounts are settled at the end of our earthly day.
Elder Holland says this parable is about the goodness of God and how he gets to deal with each of us individually. It is about God having the right to show us mercy and love when we believe we don't deserve it as much as another.
- This is a story about God’s goodness, His patience and forgiveness, and the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a story about generosity and compassion. It is a story about grace. It underscores the thought I heard many years ago that surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it.
He speaks about the need for coming unto Christ and not worrying about how late we are to coming. It is more important that we show up instead of worrying about the late hour that we finally are able to arrive. Don't worry about the past, the come to Christ today and let his atonement be part of your life.
- However late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.
- There is nothing in either case that you have done that cannot be undone. There is no problem which you cannot overcome. There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized. Even if you feel you are the lost and last laborer of the eleventh hour, the Lord of the vineyard still stands beckoning. “Come boldly [to] the throne of grace,” and fall at the feet of the Holy One of Israel. Come and feast “without money and without price” at the table of the Lord.
He speaks to the men of the church to step up and be more than we currently are. We should all take this challenge that Elder Holland gives to be better men of God.
- I especially make an appeal for husbands and fathers, priesthood bearers or prospective priesthood bearers, to, as Lehi said, “Awake! and arise from the dust … and be men.” Not always but often it is the men who choose not to answer the call to “come join the ranks.” Women and children frequently seem more willing. Brethren, step up. Do it for your sake. Do it for the sake of those who love you and are praying that you will respond. Do it for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ, who paid an unfathomable price for the future He wants you to have.
He shares his testimony of God's love for each of us.
- To each of you, one and all, I testify of the renewing power of God’s love and the miracle of His grace. His concern is for the faith at which you finally arrive, not the hour of the day in which you got there.
Finally he ends with these words of encouragement.
- So if you have made covenants, keep them. If you haven’t made them, make them. If you have made them and broken them, repent and repair them. It is never too late so long as the Master of the vineyard says there is time. Please listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit telling you right now, this very moment, that you should accept the atoning gift of the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the fellowship of His labor. Don’t delay. It’s getting late.
This is a great talk to note the mercy that God has for each of us. Sometimes we can feel we have been unjustly treated by someone because our reward is not greater, our pay is not as much, or we believe that someone has received more than us. This parable reminds us that we are individuals in the eyes of God. He will give us what we have agreed to if we are faithful and fulfill our responsibilities. But that does not restrain Him from giving liberally to anyone that might need a little more than we do. How grateful I am that God sees my individual needs and says that He will help me. He doesn't add my name to a list and say He can't give me more because He hasn't rewarded someone else nearly enough yet. I am grateful that he knows me as an individual and provides what I need. There are enough blessings to go around so we don't need to worry about there not being enough for all of us.