Has the Lord ever had reason to ask of us, "Are you envious because I am generous?" Often we live our lives fixating on comparison, even if unintentionally. We may hear of blessings other Church members receive as a result of fasting, prayer, service, keeping the Sabbath day holy, etc. and become frustrated or confused when our similar obedience doesn't yield the same result. Is the Lord fair in how He distributes blessings? Does He love others more than He loves us?
The parable of the laborers in the vineyard teaches us with startling clarity that the Lord loves us all deeply, but each of us takes a unique path, arriving at His vineyard to labor at different times and in different ways. His grace and heavenly blessings far outweigh whatever meager effort we offer. Yet, too often we can feel the "unfairness" of life when it comes to blessings or our salvation. Like the master of the vineyard, at those moments God could ask of each one of us, "Are you envious because I am generous?" (Matthew 20:15).
In those moments we might be blinded by another's blessings that we fail to see our own—ones that are tailored to our needs and spiritual learning. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland pointed out in his general conference talk "The Laborers in the Vineyard," the laborers who were first called to work in the vineyard had blessings that accompanied their work. They had the peace of mind of work and a full day's wage to feed their families while those who arrived in the last hour grappled with the helpless and anxiety-inducing realization that they might not have a way to provide for their family that day. In addition, all who worked received what they had been promised. Each laborer was blessed in a myriad of ways that reflected their situation.
Because of the uniqueness of our paths, we each have a unique relationship with our Father in Heaven. He will bless us in ways we cannot comprehend or anticipate, but He will bless us as He does His other children.
Elder Holland shared, “This is a story about God’s goodness, His patience and forgiveness, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. [God’s] concern is for the faith at which you finally arrive, not the hour of the day in which you got there.”
A video by Book of Mormon Central dives into the messages of the parable of the laborers in the vineyard and demonstrates how our Heavenly Father is loving, just, merciful, and fair in blessing His children.