America in the Kingdom Parables

C.O. Stadslkev - 1959

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 good?"

   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 deflation.

   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.

 

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