The Laborers

The Laborers
Matthew 20:1-16

Our next parable in Matthew 20:1-16 is
also a kingdom parable dealing with economics.
It is called the Parable of the Laborers.

In this parable an householder hired
laborers to work in his vineyard. Some
began to work early in the morning, some
at 9:00, some at noon, others at 3:00 in the
afternoon, and still others at 5:00.
In the evening when the householder
paid his laborers he gave each the same
pay. Twice in this parable the householder
said when he hired the laborers,
“Whatsoever is right l will give you.”
Those who had been hired first had
agreed to labor throughout the day for a
certain amount, but when they saw that
those who had labored only a few hours
received the same as they did they murmured
against the goodman of the house.
The householder answered, “Is it not
lawful for me to do what I will with mine
own? Is thine eye evil, because I am

There are undoubtedly many lessons
and applications in the parable, but one
seems to stand out very clearly; namely,
that human beings, as such, have certain
rights. They are entitled to the necessities
of life and every person is entitled to
enough buying power so that his or her
daily necessities can be supplied. While
the householder seemed to be overly generous
to the late comers, and not so generous
with those who labored all day, he
twice said he would do what was right.

Our old age assistance, social security,
unemployment compensation are all
based on this Christian and scriptural
principle. These provisions are not perfect nor
are they adequate, but they are steps in
the right direction. If the present administration
would do what is lawful and what
is right, it would do as this good householder,
and place buying power in the
hands of the people. It would keep buying
power in balance with goods and services
at all times, avoiding both inflation and

As the Lord indicated in the parable,
when that is done some will murmur, but
as the Lord said, it will be because “thine
eye is evil.” They, too, will say “something
for nothing,” which is not true. A dividend
from a prosperous business is not something
for nothing.

One of the most important functions of
any civil administration is to constantly
provide the people with an adequate and a
controlled buying power. And this could
and should be done without creating a
debt and without any interest payment.
This will come, and no amount of evil
murmuring will be able to stop it.