I have never been able to read the parable of the vineyard workers (Matthew 20:1-16) in the way that I always hear it explained – as being about some people coming to the party late. When I read it I see that the ones chosen last had been there since dawn and no one wanted them.
It seems to me that the first ones picked were the fittest and strongest; then the next ones picked were less so. And finally, those left with no one who would employ them were the elderly, the sick, the overweight (generally those who were not desirable).
It sounds like kids picking teams for sports when the least popular were always left unpicked. In this context, this parable sounds like the draft, the work refers to this age, and the pay refers to the final judgement. So those who benefit most in this age – those who’s “faces fit” gain little at the judgement but those who have no “value” in this age gain the most.
The pay is the same, but one group, who had nothing, now has everything. “In this way, the first will be last and the last will be first” – those who are unvalued by the world gain the most and those who are valued the most in this world gain the least.