The punch line was that the last will be first and the first will be last. I don't think I've ever really grasped that concept. I know it in my head, but I don't understand it. I can't really get a grasp on it. Everything in this world says it is wrong! Doesn't the early bird get the worm?
Our world system works around the principles of self-promotion, aggressive leadership, and strategically planned relationships. In the world of business and politics this actually works incredibly well. Our natural ways of thinking cause us to bring this same set of principles into the Kingdom of God. As a result we see Christian organizations built on these same principles. And the results are predictable -- it becomes wildly successful.
Unfortunately Jesus here points out that things are viewed differently from God's perspective. When we stand before God and commendations and rewards are bestowed, the things that were built on the world's principles will be seen for what they are. And many who appeared to be non-productive will be rewarded because they lived their lives and worked in the Kingdom according to God's principles. And from our vantage point today it will look as if those who were last will be first, and those who were first will end up being last.