"Jesus' story makes no economic sense, and that was his intent. He was giving us a parable about grace, which cannot be calculated like a day's wages. The employer in Jesus' story did not cheat the full-day workers. No, the full-day workers got what they were promised. Their discontent arose from the scandalous mathematics of grace. They would not accept that their employer had the right to do what he wanted with his money when it meant paying scoundrels twelve times what they deserved. Significantly, many Christians who study this parable identify with the employees who put in a full day's work, rather than the add-ons at the end of the day. We like to think of ourselves as responsible workers, and the employer's strange behavior baffles us as it did the original hearers. We risk missing the story's point: that God dispenses gifts, not wages. None of us gets paid according to merit, for none of us comes close to satisfying God's requirements for a perfect life. If paid on the basis of fairness, we would all end up in hell."
Monday, March 22, 2010
The Scandalous Mathematics of Grace
Philip Yancey in "What's So Amazing About Grace" discusses Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard found in Matthew 20:1-16.