Skip to comments.The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard
Posted on 12/26/2011 9:42:08 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
This morning, I was reading the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard, and got something I've never gotten before. It had a very profound effect on me, and thought I'd pass it along.
As the story goes, a man woke early in the morning to go hire workers for his vineyard. The first men he hired agreed to work for one penny per day. After those workers had been laboring for 3 hours, the man observed there were many still unemployed and standing around idle in the marketplace. He hires the men and tells them to work in his vineyard and he would pay them what was right.
3 hours later, he hires more who were idle in the market, and 3 hours after that he hires some more, telling each to go work in his vineyard and he would pay them what was right.
At the 11th hour, he went again into the marketplace and saw that there were still men standing around doing nothing. When he asked why they were idle, they replied by saying that no one would hire them. So the man invited them to work in his vineyard, promising that he would pay them what was right.
In the 12th hour, when the evening had come and the work day was done, the man rounded up his workers to pay them. Beginning with the first to be hired and continuing to the last, he gave each of them one penny for their efforts.
Those who had been hired first were angry and felt they should be paid more than one penny, saying: The last men you hired worked for only an hour, but you are paying them the same amount you are paying us. While we were working hard bearing the heat of the day, these others were standing around in the marketplace and yet we earn the same as the them?
The man answered by saying:
Friend, I do you no wrong: did you not agree with me to work the day for one penny?
After having read the sentence above, I found it difficult to continue reading the rest of the parable. I couldn't help but think, what have I agreed to? And I wanted to ask you, what have you agreed to?
At the end of the day, we get paid what we agreed to get paid. There are two ways we have made this agreement.
First, at some point in the past, you agreed with some man or woman how much you would work for. You made that agreement. You are not being held captive or at gun point. You are earning what you are earning because you agreed to earn that amount.
Years ago, when applying for a job at Home Depot, on the application it asked, Desired Salary. The first thing that came to my mind was, $10 an hour. But then I thought, what if they'll pay me 12?!
It was af if I was sitting there making an evil plot to trick Home Depot into paying me $12 an hour rather than $10. I was so excited about the prospect of getting $12 an hour, I became giddy and could hardly wait to turn in my application.
A few days later, I got a call from the manager at Home Depot who invited me to come down for an interview. When we got to the part on the application about money, she saw that I had written $12 an hour in the desired salary box, and asked, Do you feel you are worth $12 an hour? And sadly, I said yes. I agreed to $12 an hour. My self-worth was so low at the time, I sold my soul and threw myself under the bus for $12 an hour! Shameful.
Can you relate?
The other way we agree to what we get paid is with our subconscious mind.
There are two numbers we battle with all the time when it comes to money; the amount of money we want to earn, and the amount we feel deep within us that we are worth. With few exceptions, over time the income you earn is much closer aligned to what you feel you are worth deep down or in our subconscious mind, than to the amount you hope to earn.
This deep down amount is what you have agreed to earn. So at the end of the day, if you see others earning the same as you or even more, and they worked less hours or are less skilled or less likable than you, just remember the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard. You do not get paid what you want. You get paid what you agree to get paid, either with yourself or with another person.
For those of you who are employed, what did you agree to be paid when you signed on? And for those of you who employ yourselves, you will find that you are earning round about what you feel you are worth. This is called your financial or Success Set Point. Interesting isn't it?
This is why personal development and working on your mind is so critical. If you don't change, nothing is going to change for you.
Some of the hardest work you can do, is not sweating it out 12 hours a day in a vineyard. It's working on your mind; working to increase your self-image, self-worth, self-confidence, knowledge, skills and discipline. You are the captain of your fate, not your boss, the economy, President Obama, or your mamma!
You are not a tree! If you don't like how things are, you can move! You can change! It's your choice.
Will the exception of temporary dips in life, you earn what you earn because that is what you agree to be paid.
The key part of the story of the prodigal son is that we should instead consider the mindset of the third son who never lost site of his place in the father's household.
If you are there when the bridegroom appears, you will meet him. If you are not, you will not. It does not matter if you arrived early and waited all day, or at the last minute. As long as you are there at the moment He arrives the reward is the same.
The key part of the story of the prodigal son is that it is far better to lose everything, be foolish and then find God than it is to hold onto material possessions and never find God. That is why the tax-collectors and prostitutes will find God before the legalistic religious followers.
I was going to disagree until you talked about improving yourself, your skills, etc. As a consultant in the earth sciences, I could charge more if I learned more and got involved in more difficult ventures. However - not too many of these types of studies are performed - because they are so expensive! (Hence I don’t feel that it is worth it to learn them, etc.)
So rather than charge more because of my increased skills, I try to do the stuff I know the best that I can so as to keep my clients happy (and coming back), and getting the word out to new clients and hopefully more jobs. But still at the same rate - but with more customers I guess I am getting paid “more”.
But - the customer is the one that sets my price. (If I’m too expensive they’ll find someone else.)
BTW - the “how much am I worth” thing reminds me of when I first started working for my old man at his business. He said “Well, I would offer to pay you what you are worth - but I don’t think you would work for that little. So how does $2.50 an hour sound?” Of course that sounded great for a 12 year old kid in the early ‘70’s!!
BTW - that parable is a great one. It seems so unfair, etc. when as a child one is taught that one needs to play fair, share the cake evenly, etc. I was much too old when I realized that life is NOT fair. (I made sure my kids’ knew it - it their first “life” lesson!)
But the parable turns the idea of “fairness” into an idea of keeping one’s word, not comparing yourself to someone else, not coveting other people’s things or success, etc. And I think your idea of naming your own worth is the first time I’ve thought of it that way - and a good point. (Although I’m not sure the worker had any say in the wage in the parable?) But - it may have been a case of the landowner seeing his deadline (sunset?) coming and the amount still to be harvested that made the workers later in the day more worth it to him.
Actually the men who were standing around idle had actually earned unemployment benefits that the owner paid into the system, because they were his ex-employees, now new re-hires- and everybody knows if you are not working you can collect unemployment benefits. In those days the govt did not pay but the employer did. haha.
yeah, anyone who complains about what their very first day of work pays them is an idiot. Its what you get paid the thousandth day and five thousandth day that matters.
The parable has nothing to do with our profession, rather our reward in heaven.
I often argue with those who are “works based” vs those who are “grace based”.
They seem to have a “problem” with the idea that a dying sinner can repent at the last minute (like the thief on the cross) and receive the same reward (salvation) as one who spent their life in the service of God.
The parable of the vineyard workers should NOT be thought of as an example of how to conduct negotiation of a job!
The risk a sinner runs (in not hearing God and repenting) until the last minute is that it becomes more and more unlikely as time goes on.....
In the parable of the prodigal son, the “older brother” who has been working int the fields and is jealous is Israel in the last days, while the younger brother living in the pig-pen is typical of the Gentile nations, who find a way back into God’s grace.
It’s one of the most profound parables in the bible, IMO.
There are those who labor spiritually because that is their relationship with God. But in doing so, Christ shines through them in that way reaches others, who then turn towards the light before it is too late. Those doing this work do not turn these latecomers to the light - God does. But if they hadn’t been doing God’s work, they would not be able to provide a vessel for Christ to shine through. In addition, the shining of that light purifies them as well.
So perhaps those who worked the longest needed the most amount of time - in other words, they arrived first, but didn’t truly accept the light until the end. Perhaps their pride stood in the way of their final surrender to Grace, and took time to wear down. Whereas those who arrived last, and then turned towards the light completely, were influenced by the light that shone through those laboring all day, and so at last turned completely in humility towards the light.
The process of spiritual purification has been pondered and studied for millenia, by sages and saints alike. To treat any aspect of this most profound process superficially is a grave mistake, and I think Jesus was pointing that out with this story. In effect he was saying to those who came early, “you think that just because you showed up first, and worked so long, that meant you were advanced?” I imagine him saying this with a gentle smile.
It is often taught that if Hitler confessed Christ as Lord in the bunker, he too could receive a reward in Heaven. That sticks in people's craw, but we don't make the rules. That is also the reason we are warned against judging. We CAN judge sin, but we cannot judge the sinner. Homosexuality is sin, but the homosexual can be saved. This "contract" is written in blood and cannot be broken. There is no "plan B".
The penny is Salvation. That is why they all got the same basic wage.
To those of us who have gone Galt what were earn is irrelevant.
It doesn't say how many workers showed up at the crack of dawn the next day.
People are still making their way to work in that vineyard even today, folks.
Having lived a heathen life for 35 years and gotten saved relatively later in life, I have run into that "Prodigal brother attitude" from some I have fellowshipped with over the years - slight resentment under the surface because I get the same reward even though I sowed a ton of wild oats while they were living quiet, pious lives in the service of the King.
The parable of the vineyard workers helps me to stake my rightful place among the elect and not feel "less than".
Thank you Jesus.
The last shall be first and the fist last, as in the thief on the cross.
Your spiritual relationship with Christ is no business of mine, it is just up to him and you, and that is illustrated in the parable.
So is the relationship between an employer and an employee, it is no one else,s business, this was understood by every one so Jesus used it as an example.
As far as worth is concerned i am like most people, if some one tells me that they will pay me what i am worth, i hope they are not really serious as i have to have more than that to meet my expenses.
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
The point is that the workers that were hired last were not worth what they got, but Jesus was not talking about the vine yard, he was talking about the kingdom of heaven so it is not based on works but of grace.
what is funny is that the idea you were having “fun” is exactly backward. Most people have a lot of regrets from their wild years. I am sure the prodigal son did not enjoy eating pig’s food, but did enjoy the wine, women and song.
As to the elect comment — God is not willing that ANY should perish —2 Peter 3:9. However, there is free will — so, like the thief on the cross, they have a decision to make. We are elect in the sense that God KNOWS in “our” advance before we decide if we will be his....How does he know this? Because he is the “I AM” who exists in the past, present and future at the same time. God is a big God. He created time, and this universe, and holds it together.(Col 1:17). So he can see tomorrow like you and I can see our surroundings.
Calvinism and Legalism are the two greatest enemies of the spread of the Gospel. Neither are in the bible, although some take verses and construct an argument.
Good comment about Hitler.
Could Judas have been saved?
What did Jesus call Judas when he came to betray him? (answer: friend).
It's not what you are worth, it's what the job costs to get done. Someone could be "worth" a bundle in an alternative capacity, yet overpaid at a penny in the available position.
I did and saw a lot of horrible things I wished were no longer in my memory - but they are there.
(Although Jesus NEVER brings them up, I still must live with them).
Those that were raised in Christian homes and saved at an early age do not have to deal with those things in thier minds - how blessed are they.
"We are elect in the sense that God KNOWS in our advance before we decide if we will be his...."
Yes, that is what I mean when I use the term "elect" - a topic of endless discussion in my circles, probably in yours, too!
God is omniscient. Isaiah 46:10. He exists in all time simultaneously. This is why he knows the beginning from the end, NOT because the over-rides men’s will.
You are trying to define God’s nature via man’s perspective (this is what Calvinism does). However, God (unlike man) can absolutely KNOW an event will occur WITHOUT having to CAUSE the event to occur. We live in a cause-and-effect universe — God does NOT.
Judas (or for that matter, no human) is pre-ordained for hell. This is another incorrect conclusion of Calvinism. See Matthew 25:41. (This verse says Hell was created for Satan and his angels, not man). We (humans) will end up in hell if we commit the unforgivable sin — rejection of the Holy Spirit, which is another way of saying we decide not to follow the light that God gives us.
Could Judas have betrayed our Lord and still be saved? Yes. How? Jesus determines those who are his, not us. In our own way, WE have betrayed Jesus each time we say we are Christians and do not act like it.
God KNEW who would betray Jesus WITHOUT CAUSING the event.
He can see tomorrow, or yesterday just like we can see to our left and to our right.
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