By the time Jesus had finished talking with Matadormus, Peter and a number of the apostles had gathered about him, and as the rich young man was departing, Jesus turned around to face the apostles and said: “You see how difficult it is for those who have riches to enter fully into the kingdom of God! Spiritual worship cannot be shared with material devotions; no man can serve two masters. You have a saying that it is ‘easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the heathen to inherit eternal life.’ And I declare that it is as easy for this camel to go through the needle’s eye as for these self-satisfied rich ones to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
When Peter and the apostles heard these words, they were astonished exceedingly, so much so that Peter said: “Who then, Lord, can be saved? Shall all who have riches be kept out of the kingdom?” And Jesus replied: “No, Peter, but all who put their trust in riches shall hardly enter into the spiritual life that leads to eternal progress. But even then, much which is impossible to man is not beyond the reach of the Father in heaven; rather should we recognize that with God all things are possible.”
As they went off by themselves, Jesus was grieved that Matadormus did not remain with them, for he greatly loved him. And when they had walked down by the lake, they sat there beside the water, and Peter, speaking for the twelve (who were all present by this time), said: “We are troubled by your words to the rich young man. Shall we require those who would follow you to give up all their worldly goods?” And Jesus said: “No, Peter, only those who would become apostles, and who desire to live with me as you do and as one family. But the Father requires that the affections of his children be pure and undivided. Whatever thing or person comes between you and the love of the truths of the kingdom, must be surrendered. If one’s wealth does not invade the precincts of the soul, it is of no consequence in the spiritual life of those who would enter the kingdom.”
And then said Peter, “But, Master, we have left everything to follow you, what then shall we have?” And Jesus spoke to all of the twelve: “Verily, verily, I say to you, there is no man who has left wealth, home, wife, brethren, parents, or children for my sake and for the sake of the kingdom of heaven who shall not receive manifold more in this world, perhaps with some persecutions, and in the world to come eternal life. But many who are first shall be last, while the last shall often be first. The Father deals with his creatures in accordance with their needs and in obedience to his just laws of merciful and loving consideration for the welfare of a universe.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a householder who was a large employer of men, and who went out early in the morning to hire laborers to work in his vineyard. When he had agreed with the laborers to pay them a denarius a day, he sent them into the vineyard. Then he went out about nine o’clock, and seeing others standing in the market place idle, he said to them: ‘Go you also to work in my vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will pay you.’ And they went at once to work. Again he went out about twelve and about three and did likewise. And going to the market place about five in the afternoon, he found still others standing idle, and he inquired of them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all the day?’ And the men answered, ‘Because nobody has hired us.’ Then said the householder: ‘Go you also to work in my vineyard, and whatever is right I will pay you.’
“When evening came, this owner of the vineyard said to his steward: ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last hired and ending with the first.’ When those who were hired about five o’clock came, they received a denarius each, and so it was with each of the other laborers. When the men who were hired at the beginning of the day saw how the later comers were paid, they expected to receive more than the amount agreed upon. But like the others every man received only a denarius. And when each had received his pay, they complained to the householder, saying: ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour, and yet you have paid them the same as us who have borne the burden of the day in the scorching sun.’
“Then answered the householder: ‘My friends, I do you no wrong. Did not each of you agree to work for a denarius a day? Take now that which is yours and go your way, for it is my desire to give to those who came last as much as I have given to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own? or do you begrudge my generosity because I desire to be good and to show mercy?’”
--Presented by the Midwayer Commission, from the Urantia Papers.