The Most Misunderstood Parable In The Bible

The Most Misunderstood Parable

A blog, that, after much prayer for guidance from the Holy Spirit, and through daily contemplation, tries to explain some of the more complex, misused, misunderstood, or misinterpreted Bible verses. We’ll sometimes cover other subjects and matters of faith, as well. There is no shortage of topics to cover!

Scripture Demystified

Come Holy Spirit….

I first blogged about this 7 years ago, but I felt it was worth revisiting once more.

Going back decades to Sunday School until just recently in a Homily, people have misunderstood Matthew 20:1-16…The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard:

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; and to those he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And so they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day long?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He *said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’
“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.’ When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received adenarius. 10 When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’ 13 But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’ 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.” 

The problem with this parable that I have come across time and again, is that it is often taken literally and then seen as what our labor laws should be according to God. This is not so.

It starts off with Jesus telling us that this is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like, not how life on earth is supposed to be. So what is He referring to?

Jesus is telling us that whether we become Christians at an early age, or sometime in the middle, or at the very end of our lives, that the reward will be the same, the Kingdom of Heaven! And that some will grumble about not being given a higher reward for serving the Lord for many decades than someone who just started believing  much later on. So what the parable is ultimately about, is God’s mercy! God is equally generous to ALL who believe in Him, regardless of when they came to believe. Our agreement with God is that we serve and love Him and we are rewarded with the Kingdom of Heaven. No more and no less has been promised. And is it not God’s reward to give away freely as He sees fit? It is very similar to the parable of the Prodigal Son, is it not? 

ALL who come to believe in the Lord will be rewarded equally, with eternity in God’s Kingdom. Whether you come to believe early in life or later in life, all can and will receive salvation!

Is that fair? Well, it is God’s prerogative to be so generous, and He has done you no wrong, has He? You received what was promised as a servant of the Lord. 

Now, some will read this and think, “Well I might as well wait until the end of my life to serve the Lord.” This is foolish one two levels. One, do you not love God unconditionally? Don’t you serve Him out of love? Not to tske advantage of Him? And two, how do you know when the end of your life is? It could be tomorrow. it could be 50 years. None of us know. So you are gambling with your salvation, and God is not foolish enough to reward that, anyway. 

So love the Lord God with all of your heart, as He asks us to do, and rather than be jealous of others when you see them getting rewarded for their faith regardless of how long they have believed, take solace that we have such a generous Father, such a merciful Father, that no matter when you came to believe, be it decades ago, or right this moment, you will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven as promised! 

May God bless you!
Eric

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